Are Your Selfies Harming The Planet? How To Tackle “Dirty Data”

The UK’s ‘dirty data’ habits could be silently contributing as much to global emissions as international air travel.

More than 355,000 tonnes of CO2 are generated every year through unwanted pics alone. That’s the equivalent to the entire population of Chelmsford flying to Australia and back!

  • New research by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) reveals a worrying disconnect between Brits’ care and concern for the environment, and their dirty data habits. Almost 80% fail to consider the environmental impact of our data use online.
  • Most people want to be more sustainable (71%), and two thirds (66%) believe everyone has an individual role to play in protecting the planet from climate change. So the IET is empowering Brits to take control and lower their data carbon footprint.
Happy mature woman in front of golden autumn leaves enjoys leisure time

Pic: iStockphoto

Top tips to lower your data carbon footprint

Here are the IET’s 7 simple steps to being more sustainable online:

Delete the dupes

Make a habit of deleting all your duplicated photos – it’s fine to perfect that perfect shot for Instagram, but simply deleting unwanted shots could make a huge difference to your carbon footprint.

Clean out your Cloud

Don’t forget about your cloud storage. Clean this out regularly too to save much-needed data space – and slash your emissions in the process.

Girl wearing eyeglasses with eyesight problems trying to read phone text at home

Wipe the WhatsApps

Let’s be honest, most texts, messenger service messages and WhatsApps from 2015 probably don’t need to be kept. So spring clean your messages and get yourself in the habit of deleting old groups you don’t use any more.

Unsubscribe all

When you’re deleting emails from your inbox, take a minute to think about if you need to be subscribed to that mailing list at all. Save space, and the planet!

Face free day (and night)

Have a ‘video off’ day when you can; if you don’t need your camera on for meetings, occasionally turn it off to save data.

Pic: Shutterstock

Step away from the phone

When watching TV or a streaming service, put your phone away. Maybe even leave it in another room to resist the temptation to scroll as you watch. You’ll enjoy your show more and cut your carbon all in one simple move!

Auto play: off

Switch off the ‘auto play next episode’ function on your streaming services and use the handy ‘sleep timer’ on your devices if you listen to music or podcasts as you drift off. Your cat doesn’t need to hear 8 hours of True Crime or rainforest soundscapes!