The rapid advancement of digital technologies in recent years has placed a strong emphasis on ensuring that we take great responsibility to protect the planet. Furthermore, given the ongoing issues surrounding climate change and the adoption of technological tools, it is critical that we take adequate steps to minimise the environmental impact.
In fact, India has set a long-term goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2070, and to achieve this, it must be broken down into small but significant steps. Here are some ideas to help you reduce the environmental impact of your laptop:
Know your numbers
Do you know your carbon footprint? It's the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) – including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and others – that you produce as you live your life. There are several great calculators out there that can help you calculate your carbon footprint, like Carbon Footprint Calculator. You may be surprised by your own footprint, so knowing it will be the first step in figuring out where you can make savings. Many brands will help you compare the carbon footprint of various models to further inform your sustainability-minded buying decisions.
The great recycle
We normally think of recycling as a waste issue, but it's also a climate issue. For example, recycled aluminium can have a 95 per cent smaller carbon footprint than making that same can from virgin aluminium. The growing e-waste issue in India necessitates a stronger focus on recycling and improved e-waste management.
So, before you buy a new laptop, consider how you might responsibly return, refurbish or recycle your old one. You might be surprised to know that reconditioned products actually have a longer lifecycle than brand-new ones. Depending on the brand of your laptop, you may be able to send it back to have it recycled. Recycling policies vary from brand to brand and have improved significantly over the last few years. But today, some will even collect your old electronic goods, regardless of brand, in any condition, and recycle them for free.
Before you replace it, can you repair it?
Repair is essential to keep products in use longer and out of landfills, so it's worth checking whether a laptop is designed with repair and recycling in mind. If a component is covered in adhesive and takes hours to disassemble, it isn't as easy to repair and may not be able to be recycled at all. Some brands provide customers with easy access to the resources, spare parts and support they need should they wish to repair their products themselves.
What's on the outside counts too
What about packaging? India generates 3.6 lakh million tonnes of plastic waste, of which only 50 per cent is recycled. So, making sustainable choices based on packaging will also help you select a more sustainable laptop. Check whether a company uses styrofoam or other packaging materials that are difficult or impossible to recycle. Many companies now use reclaimed plastics and natural products like bamboo to make more sustainable packaging, so you can go ahead and responsibly recycle or compost the packaging – or use it to send your old tech for recycling.
If you want to play your part in preserving the environment, one of the easiest things you can do to help is preserve your laptop – that means protecting it and extending its lifespan. So, update your software regularly to optimise your PC’s efficiency and avoid viruses, treat the battery well, and keep your laptop clean!
You as a customer may affect how seriously businesses address the issue of our global carbon impact. When making purchases, you can opt to reward businesses with effective sustainability initiatives by choosing their products. You can also let them know you appreciate their work through social media or other outlets – everyone appreciates a little positive reinforcement now and then. Whether at the ballot box or the checkout, your choices can signal that you want to decarbonise the economy and push for climate change solutions.
Indrajit Belgundi is senior director and general manager, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of THE WEEK.