UTServicesLISACyber safetyNewsDigital Cleanup Day: clean up your digital waste

Digital Cleanup Day: clean up your digital waste

We take part in Digital Cleanup Day!. Digital Cleanup Day is a day dedicated to cleaning up our digital lives, just like we clean up our physical environment. It’s a global day meant to raise awareness about digital pollution and the impact this has on our environment, and what you can do to reduce your – and thus UT’s – impact. Together with CFM’s SEE Programme,  LISA (Library, ICT Services & Archive) intends to focus more on this issue in the coming years. You can participate by cleaning up your personal harddisk, e-mail and phone by deleting unnecessary data in the run up to 16 March!

Why is this important?

Data on our computers, phones and servers is invisible and weightless. Yet, creating and storing data uses raw materials for our computers and servers, and once stored, data constantly uses energy – even when it’s is never accessed again. Therefore, even though we can’t see it, reducing digital waste matters: it saves energy, money and CO2 emissions.

At UT, we have a lot of data that hasn’t been accessed for a long time, yet is still stored somewhere. While sometimes it is of course necessary to store data long-term, it’s quite likely that a lot of this data will never be used again. We want to reduce our negative impact on the planet as much as possible and become a sustainable organisation. By being mindful of your digital waste, you can help us to do so!

This graph shows the last time data on UT employees’ personal drives was last accessed. Click to enlarge.

Great! So what can I do?

This week, we will take a first step by focusing on our personal drives (M-drive), phones and email storage.

Step 1: Clean up your smartphone

Remove all applications that you haven’t used for a while or used only a few times. Be honest and bold! Delete all those unnecessary forgotten old apps and games that you have downloaded, but not yet even really tried. You won’t start using them later either – for sure! They consume energy even when they are not in use and can consume hundreds of megabytes of data for updates each month.

Don’t forget to delete any user accounts (including emails) and all its data and haven’t accessed it for a decade. You will speed up your phone and increase the battery life – it is always worth it to have as few apps as necessary.

Review your photos and videos. By deleting the unnecessary and duplicates, you can free up gigabytes of valuable storage space. See the guidelines how to clean up your smartphone and tablet.

Step 2: clean up your PC

Clean up your device by deleting files on your personal drives that are duplicates, outdated or useless. Sort your photos, delete duplicates and blurry ones. Go through your videos and delete watched or unnecessary files. Archive the important files. Anticipate discovering a multitude of unused or unnecessary materials on your device! See the guidelines how to clean up your computer and drive.

Step 3: clean up your mailbox

Filter emails by the oldest one and archive them. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Select long conversations, pick the newest one and delete everything else. Search for common names, addresses, and words to round up similar emails so you can deal with them as mass. Be brave and click the DELETE button! See the guidelines how to clean up your mailbox.

Did you know? Digital waste facts
  • In 2022, about 70 million servers were used to store data. Each one caused the production of 1–2 tons of CO2. In that year, about 20 million of them became e-waste.
  • 99% of data was created within the last 10 years.
  • 90% of all data is never accessed 3 months after it is stored.
  • Limitless consumption of data today needs 3 times more energy than all the solar panels the world can produce.
  • The Internet produces more than 900 million tons of CO2 each year.
  • 320 billion emails are sent every day and 62 trillion spam emails every year = 20 million tons of CO2.
  • One email emits, on average, 4g of CO2 = the carbon footprint of a light bulb turned on for 6 minutes.

Source: Digitalcleanupday.org

Questions? Remarks?

Do you have questions, remarks or ideas in response to Digital Cleanup Day? Please contact the LISA Service Desk ICT through servicedesk-ict@utwente.nl or by walking by on the ground floor of the Citadel building (entrance at O&O square).