11 Tips for being greener on the Internet

When people are interested in moving towards Zero Waste, one of the ideas that often comes up is to do everything digitally: pay bills online, store cooking recipes on the cloud etc.
But we need to be careful not to go to the other extreme, because what is generally not well known is that our digital life also has a big impact. In a report called Clicking Clean published on the 10th January, Greenpeace tells us that the IT sector now represents approximately 7% of total electricity consumption in the world. Putting all our documents on a Cloud, inserting an image into our signatures, signing up for newsletters we never read – all this has a cost for the planet! But as always, there are ways to improve it!
Here are some tips:

1) Empty your inboxes (Including Trash/Bin and Sent messages – which we often forget) and save messages and attachments on a hard disk

2) Unsubscribe from Newsletters (that you don’t read) – there are several free tools to help you do this: unroll.me or Cleanfox

3) Use a messaging service that respects your contact details – like Protonmail or Newmanity which respect your private details without analyzing them or collecting them for commercial reasons

4) Limit your emails – Before sending an e:mail to the whole office, ask yourself if you couldn’t just tell people about it orally, or if the young intern really needs to see your message. For eachextra person the address list you use more electricity.

5) Choose a simple signature – Avoid email signatures with images or attachments

6) Send less attachments – To share documents, use a USB stick which uses less energy than attachments. And if you use a shared online workspace, show people the simplest way to get to the document

7) Choose a responsible search engine – Yes, that exists! Ecosia (which plants trees with their advertising revenues), Goodsearch (the humanitarian search engine) or Ecogine (which donates all the revenue from searches to environmental organisations),and many more!

8) Celebrate the black! – To reduce energy consumption of your screen, use black Search pages like Blackle or Ecofree (and reduce the luminosity of your screen while you’re about it!)

9) Go straight to the right address – To avoid unnecessary Searches, use your bookmarks to quickly access sites you visit. If you know the URL of the site, type it directly into the address bar

10) Block advertising – Advertising on the internet also uses electricity – don’t hesitate to use Advertising blockers such as Adblock or Ghostery

11) Limit what you store online – Yes, the Cloud is very practical, but somewhere in the world a real server (and most likely several servers with different copies) has to store your information and uses up lots of electricity and air conditioning to do so (they have to always be at 20°)


To learn more:

Other responsible Search Engines: