Apr 21, 2020

Like most everything else, Earth Day this year looks a little different.

A smartphone with charger cable laying in grass.

But with many of us at home and online from dawn till dusk, monitoring how we use technology is as important as ever. So we want to put a special focus this year on simple changes you can make (at home) in your day-to-day technology habits to reduce waste and your overall environmental footprint.

Using Technology Better

Switch from Regular to LED Bulbs

Next time you need to replace a light bulb? Order an energy-efficient version. It isn’t just a good eco-practice; it’s a smart money move.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and other newer bulbs, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent models, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

These bulbs also last up to 25 times longer than those standard bulbs, too.

Unplug Devices When You're Not Using Them

Do you know how much power your snoozing laptop uses when it’s plugged in? About 57 kWh each year, which produces carbon emissions equivalent to running your car for more than an hour. 

Just because your devices are idle doesn’t mean they’re not sucking energy. This is “vampire power,” which costs billions of dollars a year in wasted energy.

The solution is a lot easier than staking something through the heart. Simply unplug your devices when they’re not in use. Worried you’ll forget to unplug? Rather than the wall, plug your laptop, phone and other chargers into a power strip, which can be turned off on its own, taking care of all your phantom devices in one go.

General Tips for Greening Your Tech

There are tons of small changes you can make for a big impact. Here’s a few more of our energy-saving, environmentally friendly tech tips.

  • Turn off lights and unplug non-essential appliances when they’re not in use. Keep your fridge plugged in. But your toaster? Don’t let it be an energy vampire.
  • Sign up for paperless billing for your utilities and other accounts. Not only do you save the paper but the carbon footprint of delivering the bill, too.
  • Use a smart TV for streaming rather than your gaming console. Consoles are the least efficient choice for streaming, using up to 15 times more energy than other devices. (Though you can make a few settings changes to your console to conserve power.)
  • If you need to print, use recycled paper. You can order recycled printer paper from Amazon or any office supply store. And you can use it to send handmade cards to your friends in isolation, too.

Craft Corner: Making a Floppy Disk Planter

Recycling Floppy Disks — for the Earth

Need something to do while you’re stuck at home? Search your (or maybe your parents’) closets for some old floppy disks. Then grab a small plant and watch our how-to video to make a new home for it. (Written instructions are in the video description on Youtube.) 

Other Tech Craft Ideas

You can recycle tech waste into all sorts of things. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

If you end up making any of these or your own inventions out of old technology (especially if it’s a cat bed), show it to us! Tag us on Twitter or Instagram.