When it comes to the environment, it’s difficult to make big changes on your own. You can’t singlehandedly clean every littered street in the city, nor can you make everyone take public transportation during the rush hour home. Nope, you’re forced to make changes on a smaller scale.
This, however, is a good thing. There are so many little things you can do to help save the environment. Moreover, you don’t even have to get up to do them–you can do them in front of your own computer. How?
From changing your working habits to modifying the technology you use, here are 30 tips to help save the environment from right in front of your computer.
1) Work Digitally—The number one environmentally-friendly-paper-reducing tip. Use word processing applications when you can to avoid numerous hard copies and drafts.
2) Computer Parts—Simply buying, donating and recycling your computer can save on the huge amounts of waste, material and toxic by-products that are produced in the process of creating them. Company sites such as Dell, HP and Apple have web pages dedicated to recycling information that can steer you in the right direction.
3) Subscribe and Email—Computers are great, if not made, for such things. Subscribe to your favourite newspapers and newsletters via RSS and email. This is a sure fire way to cut down on the paper waste you throw away everyday after only one reading.
4) Work At Home—One of the best things about working with computers is that you can work from home by accessing your office PC. By working at home, you can bypass your contribution to the amount of exhaust emissions produced by driving in to work every day.
5) Write a Letter to Your Congressman—Get proactive. If you have opinions and ideas about the environment, write and email a letter to your congressman expressing your concerns.
6) Stock Your Printer With Used Paper—When it becomes absolutely necessary to produce a printout for drafts and records, print double-sided on used paper.
7) Use A Notepad—When you have to jot things down while working online, eliminate the use of sticky notes, paper pads, and scrap notes. Keep your research work organized, paper-free and desktop convenient by using the notepad on your computer.
8 ) Use An Efficient Power Strip—Is there such a thing? Yes. There are efficient power strips on the market that can actually stop idle currents from being drawn by unused electronics. Using smart power strips for computer devices that you constantly use, forget to unplug and turn off will save on the excess electricity you’re not using.
9) Unplug Adapters— Most adapters left plugged in (like the ones used for laptops) will still draw on an electric current that makes them feel warm to the touch after a few hours. If you don’t want to spend the money on an efficient power strip, simply unplugging them completely will eliminate any excess power consumption.
10) Unplug Your Cell Phone Charger—While it’s common to leave your phone charger plugged in, get into the habit of unplugging it when it’s done charging to conserve on energy. You can even try finding a USB compatible charger for your phone in order to charge it off your computer instead of using an extra power source.
11) Save On Screen Savers—When customizing your desktop, use screen savers that aren’t too heavy in graphics because, while they may save your monitor, they still need the electricity to be displayed.
12) Optimize Power Settings—An obvious tip on saving energy: optimize your computer’s power settings. You can always find a few effective ways to cut down on energy consumption.
13) Download Your Software—Instead of buying packaged software, download it instead and save on all the fancy packaging material. As an added bonus, doing so will eliminate the weeks of waiting for your software to travel in the mail. A win-win situation!
14) CO2 Saver—This is an application that monitor s and adjusts the amount of energy your computer consumes. This is a great way to start gauging how much damage your computer does and how much you’ll need to change your habits in order to fix it.
15) Adjust Working Conditions—When computers get hot from long periods of usage, it can get pretty uncomfortable without the air conditioner on. Instead of cranking up the AC, open up a window or wear layers that you can peel off and begin eliminating your contribution to CFC levels in the atmosphere.
16) Add More Green At Your Computer Station— More eco-friendly than an air purifiers that run on electricity, adding plants to your work space can be a healthy, efficient and natural way of detoxifying air pollutants at the office.
17) Use Coffee And Travel Mugs—Who doesn’t have a nice hot cup of Joe when settling down in front of the computer first thing in the morning? Unlike the paper cups from a coffee shop, travel and coffee mugs are reusable, washable, durable and refill-able.
18) Learn About The Environment Online—Being in the know about environmental facts is the first step you can take to helping the environment on your part. Visiting educational websites where you can learn about major issues and concerns are good places to start.
19) Get Up To Speed With Environmental News— Another way to start helping the environment is by being aware of developments that are going on in it. Right beside CNN on your RSS feed, add ENN, the Environmental News Network where you can get current up to date information.
20) Yahoo! Green—Yahoo! has gone green with Yahoo! Green, a website on all things environmental. This site contains a ton of resources, including environmentally friendly tips and cost cutting tricks that you can put into practice.
21) Use Black Google—It is said that computer pages with more white in them consume more energy. True or false? According to blogs, the answer is it depends upon the type of monitor being used. So when spending countless hours on Google, take a look and give Black Google a try on your monitor.
22) Use Rechargeable USB Batteries—Take re-charging batteries to a whole new different level by using re-chargeable USB batteries. That’s right. They come in the popular AA size and work like regular USB keys that you plug into USB ports to charge them up. They’re compatible with most of your gadgets and your computer.
23) Blog Action Day–Getting involved is the important part of the battle, no? This is getting digitally easier with Blog Action Day. Inaugurated just this year on October 15, Blog Action Day is an annual, one day event when bloggers all over the world blog about the environment, spreading environmental awareness one blog at a time.
24) Use Your Computer As A TV–If you’re going to watch TV while working on your computer, use the computer to do both and save on energy consumption. Avoid using multiple devices when one will suffice. This goes for music, video games and movies as well.
25) Read ebooks—As an avid reader, you can play your environmental role by keeping your reading habits paperless and bookless. It’s a small step, but a good way to start saving the amount of trees being cut down for the pages you read in a long novel.
26) Online Shopping Receipts—Constantly printing a hard copy receipt when shopping online can create even more paper wastage than a simple one from a cash register. Keep your receipts digital by saving the webpage via the browser on a portable storage device or on your hard drive.
27) Use Your Laptop Efficiently—If you’re a laptop user rather than a desktop one, use it efficiently to save on the amount of energy used in charging your battery. Cut down on the use of high demand activities or ones running in the background, defrag it on a regular basis for faster performance and use the more energy efficient hibernation mode instead of standby.
28) USE PDF Forms—Whenever possible, opt to fill out forms online and back it up digitally to save on printing paper. Go one step further and convert your PDF Forms into Word and fill them out there.
29) Go Portable—Laptops are being made lighter these days. This makes it perfect for taking notes in classes or conferences, saving on paper and time wasted in transcribing them into digital format.
30) Simply Browse the Internet—Ad clicking is growing in popularity, and now it’s being creatively used in a different way– to raise funds for certain charities, environmental ones included. By creating an account at an Internet charity site, you can help an environmental charity of your choosing.
This just goes to show that if you can be creative in your day to day computer habits, you can help save the environment.