Reducing the environmental impact of digital technology: practical guide and future strategies

Monday 1 July 2024

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Digital technology is ubiquitous in our daily lives, but what are its environmental impacts, and how can we mitigate them? The third result of the eGreen project, guides us through the production, use, and disposal of digital devices, offering strategies for digital sobriety and best practices to reduce our ecological footprint.

The manual “How to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Digital Technology” was developed thanks to the partnership between France, Ireland, Italy, and Estonia, within the framework of the eGreen project. This educational tool provides a comprehensive overview of the environmental effects of digital technology, exploring the stages of production, use, and disposal of digital devices, and outlining future initiatives for a more sustainable digital future.

Production of Digital Devices

The production of digital devices has a significant environmental impact, contributing to large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of natural resources. The production of a single laptop can emit up to 270 kg of CO2, equivalent to driving 1,600 km in a car. Additionally, the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing processes release pollutants that can contaminate soil and water resources.

Daily Use

The daily use of digital devices represents another major source of environmental impact. The prevalence of smartphones and other devices has led to a significant increase in internet usage, with over 5.35 billion users worldwide at the beginning of 2024. This massive usage contributes to the digital carbon footprint, which accounted for about 2-3% of global CO2 emissions in 2020.

Disposal of Digital Devices

The end-of-life of digital devices presents further environmental challenges. Many devices end up in landfills, contributing to about 20 million tons of non-recyclable waste annually. The manual highlights the importance of recycling and extending the lifespan of devices to reduce this waste.

Future Initiatives

For a sustainable digital future, the manual proposes several initiatives, including promoting digital sobriety and developing regulations that incentivize the production of durable and easily repairable devices.

In conclusion, the manual “How to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Digital Technology” is a valuable and practical resource for understanding and addressing the environmental challenges posed by digital technology. It is particularly useful in educational settings, where it can be used to raise awareness among younger generations. We encourage everyone to download the manual through the provided link to contribute to a more sustainable future for our planet.

For further information contact Fabrizio Di Spezio fabrizio.dispezio@cesie.org.

About eGreen

eGreen is a project funded by the Erasmus+, KA220-VET – Cooperation partnerships in vocational education and training program.

Partners

For further information

Read more about eGreen.

Contact Fabrizio Di Spezio: fabrizio.dispezio@cesie.org.


Strengthening Research Support: a study visit to CESIE by Science and Research Center Koper

Strengthening Research Support: a study visit to CESIE by Science and Research Center Koper

As part of the KRPAN project – Strengthening Research Support and Activities for Progress on European Research Projects), Živa Semolič – project officer from ZRS Koper, Slovenia – joined a dynamic study visit hosted by CESIE ETS in Palermo. Visit aimed to enhance international collaboration and gain insights into organisational processes, project development, networking, administrative and financial project management.

CESIE ETS