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Reduire son empreinte numerique r

Digital print: how to reduce it?

It's not about forcing, punishing, blaming but warning, inquiring at our level, it's possible to do easily, almost automatically, to boost our ecological and responsible consciousness. The Covid-19, as a disaster, brought to light deep thinkings about our way of consumption and our business model become meaningless.

Some figures related to Internet (at a global level)

9 billion of appliances, whose 2 billion of smartphones, 1 billion of computers
5 to 7 billion of connected objects
45 million of servers
800 million of network equipments, ADSL residential gateways and so on
Manufacture of one computer :
240 kg of fossil fuels, 22kg of chemicals, 1.5 tons of water. Pollution is insured!
energetical consumption: greenhouse gaz emissions linked to digital (1)
Data centers 47%
Network infrastructures 28%
Consumer equipments 25%

Remind: the manufacture of appliances and a bad management of our end of life represent the most important environmental impact.

On the sides of appliances, the verbs to conjugate:

  • To increase the life expectations of appliances  (2).
  • To choose repackaged instead of new product
  • To prioritize environmental labels (Blue Angel, TCO, EPEAT and so on) for the hardware acquisition
  • To remove useless softwares, decelerator of computers
  • To repair before to throw. Yes the major part of appliances can be repaired!
  • To give to specialized organisations in the field of repackaging
  • To drop the cumbersome in store ( often by a new unavoidable product), in recycling organizations or in special conteners

On the side of digital, the good practices
There is no use of Net whithout environmental impact, as there is no "clean" vehicle. But we can't stop the progress of digital and its exponential use. It's up to us to find the balance between these two unavoidable: environmental protection and digital use.

We know (or we should know), the use of search engine, the sending of email or the ill-conceived storage of files, videos, pictures are many practices become usual, energy-intensive, without us ebing aware of it.
To become ( or to stay) a smart and ethical Internet user, we have the choice between some trickes very simple, to consume overtly(at least a maximum of them).

The direct energy  (3)

  • To put on hold its computer after 3 minutes whithout use and turn off it in case of extended break.
  • To turn off TV box

Emails (4)

  • To send a minimum of email, to limit attached files, the receivers and the useless hidden copies
  • To sort, to classify, to delete its emails.
  • To bundle as many as possible , to use simple and fast style(the time spent to write and read represent the major source of impacts)
  • To favour the text format(12 times lighter than HTML)
  • To automate SPAMs destruction.
  • To reduce emails ratification (no picture or in low -definition)

Storage and transfer (5)

  • To provide a document via a key (intended for someone close of course) instead of digital transfer.
  • To avoid 4G
  • To get closer to its colleagues to discuss instead of chat via Net. ( it(s not an obligation to monopolize the coffee machine too!)
  • To use local (internal or external hard drive) to the data storage instead of cloud.

Increasingly less (6)

  • To use the function "favorite" for the frequently used websites and to close as many as possible tabs.
  • To use streaming with parsimony.
  • To keep only the good pictures.
  • To avoid selfies, videos, movies we can forget...

To contribute, individually, to decrease the digital print while benefiting technical and technological breakthrough, this is the challenge we can, very easily take up today. Let's go...


(1) The "data centers" consume 10% of global electricity and whithout notorious change, it should be the double in 2030 (Jones 2018). Turned on 24h/24, an ADSL box and the TV box together consume from 150 to 300 kWh per year, so the annual electricitcal consumption of 5 to 10 laptop 15 inch used 8 hours per day! To turn off its box during the night allows to save 65 to 130 kWh, between 8 and 16 euros and 650 to 1300L of water per year.

(2) According the ADEME, Agency for the Environment and Energy Management: batteries, accumulators, computer chips and so on. The components of our appliances contain toxic substances for the environment and health. From the rare metals extraction necessary for their manufacture until their treatment as waste, it's important to limit as much as possinle their ecological print all along their life cycle ! Also it's better to change them the least possible. To keep as long as possible its digital equipments (>4 years).If you take care of them, a smartphone can be using for 5 years and a laptop more than 10 years!

(3) Turned on 24h/24, an ADSL box and the TV box together consume from 150 to 300 kWh per year, so the annual electricitcal consumption of 5 to 10 laptop 15 inch used 8 hours per day! To turn off its box during the night allows to save 65 to 130 kWh, between 8 and 16 euros and 650 to 1300L of water per year.

(4) To send an email consumes as much energy as to store it during 1 year. More are email is heavy , more its environmental ipmact is important, obvious but it's better to sya it.

(5)The online storage of emails, photos, videos, music and other files induces  continuous round trip between the users and servers. However, a sending data via Internet consume twice as much energy than its storage during one year. hence the interest to store, to save these files on local hard drives.  

(6)  Online videos represent more than 60% of the internet traffic.  The HD streaming of a HD show via an ADSL box produce as greenhouse gaz as making, bringing and read a DVD!  If it's possible, also use the DTT for show in direct.


digital sobriety digital footprint best practices environmental impact