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Sustaining Earth

06 Dec 2022

Here is a list of simple but effective ways of decreasing negative impact from your existence.

Recycle bottles and cans

Most types of bottles and cans are fully recyclable. Recycling glass saves a lot of energy because melting glass is easier than raw materials.

  • At least 13% of energy is saved to produce a glass bottle rather than making a new one from raw materials (source from 1994).

  • Using recycled aluminum saves up to 95% of energy used to create new materials.

Reuse instead of recycling, if possible

To save energy when using glass bottles, reuse is the clear choice. Even taking into account the heavier weight of reusable bottles, the energy per use drops by more than 10x (source from 1994).

Avoid usage of plastic

Unfortunately recycling plastic isn't very effective, due to a number of reasons, mainly because it costs more than producing new (since fossil fuels are very cheap and a lot of plastic is dirty). Just burning plastic as a way to get rid of it is very harmful for the environment as well. It produces toxic gases and releasing heavy metals in the atmosphere.

The best solution so far is getting rid of single use plastic such as plastic bags and glasses.

Switch to these alternatives:

  • plastic bag => backpack or tote bag
  • bottled water => tap water + filter. filter is optional if it's safe to drink from the sink (like in Norway or Estonia).

Delete old emails and unsubscribe

Delete unimportant emails and unsubscribe from all unimportant sources. The energy cost of data transfer and storage is about 3.1 kWh/GB (source).

I've recently cleaned ~8.6K (which weigh around 630MB) of junk mail, saving ~2kWh of energy.

You can calculate energy savings from deleting your emails here (assuming average email size is 75KB):

Keep your battery healthy

In order to avoid quick degradation of the battery on your devices, set a charging threshold to about 80-90%. It's currently supported on Android and some laptops (usually in battery settings).

Unplug devices and chargers if battery is full

A phone charger consumes 0.26W of energy even with no phone connected. When your fully charged phone is left connected, use jumps to 2.24W (source).

(for developers) Delete empty git forks

On GitHub, if you open to edit a file it automatically creates a fork from the original repo. Even "pure" forks without any changes take up space on GitHub servers, so I would recommend cleaning them up from time to time.