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How to be Digitally Eco-Friendly

Welcome to our regular tips and tricks on all things digital!

We’ve shared tips in the past on things like a Social Media Spring Clean and general digital spring cleans, but are there ways to also be more environmentally and eco-friendly in the digital world, especially when doing anything marketing-related for your business?

Here’s some of the tips we’ve found and think are a great way to start.

1. Paper or Digital Marketing Materials

While there’s always some things that will still need to be printed, it’s always a good idea to think about whether – when you’re wanting to promote your business – you can use digital marketing rather than print to talk about your product offering. There’s lots of options, from creating an email newsletter, social media accounts and posts, and paid adverts targeting your audience.

That doesn’t mean to say don’t use print – it depends on your target audience! Sometimes you might be attending an event and a flyer or business card to hand is the best way to send off a potential customer with valuable information.

If that’s the case, when printing, it’s a good idea to think about the following:

  • The likely amount of people attending so you can get a good idea of the amount of people who could be interested in your business and product, and then print a more realistic amount of flyers or business cards (or other type of marketing materials).
  • Investigate the type of papers and materials the printers use, ensuring the materials are environmentally-friendly and potentially recycled materials already, or can be easily recycled.

2. Face-to-face or Virtual?

In the last few years virtual meetings have been essential, and now that things are opening up again we’re looking back at face-to-face meetings with an endearing gaze of longing into the distance, even if it means a three hour journey.

We say – stop, think, and consider. Face-to-face meetings are still great and essential, but if there’s a way of being more environmentally-friendly and not a need for a face-to-face, why not try a virtual meeting?

It’ll cut down on the miles travelled, the petrol used, and you can use those extra hours to either focus on something else or brainstorm on ideas for your business – something that we all dream about having time for, but never seem to have.

Everyone knows Zoom, and there’s certainly Teams for larger businesses, but don’t forget the likes of Google Meet (which is free to use – you just need a Google Account).

3. Email and its Carbon Footprint

Did you know that even emails have a carbon footprint? When you sent an email, it travels through the networks across the world and of course goes to the person it’s addressed to. But electricity and storage are needed for all that work, and that data from all those emails can add up.

According to ‘The Good Planet’:

The carbon footprint of a spam email: 0.3g CO2e

The carbon footprint of an average (text) email: 4g CO2e

The carbon footprint of an email with attachments: 50g C02

So – if you have at least 2 email accounts (personal and business), all those emails will certainly add up, especially if you average receiving 30-50 emails a day…

Another interesting note from ‘The Thought experiment’ by Science Focus:

‘Sending 65 emails is roughly equivalent to driving 1km in a car’.

That means an average person adds 136kg of C02 to their carbon footprint from emails they send and receive.

In a digital marketing world, depending on the size of your business, you could be sending thousands of emails a week… that’s a lot of extra miles… and you’re not even driving a car!

There’s not a way to stop sending emails completely – not at the moment, so here’s some ways to help cut down:

  • Delete unnecessary emails and manage your inbox regularly
  • Compress the images in your emails and avoid large HTML elements
  • Link to files or information online
  • Check the email sent has all the relevant information prior to sending, so you don’t need to send more unnecessary follow-up emails!
  • Finish your email with a ‘thank you’, rather than sending a separate ‘thank you’ email
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters that are no longer relevant, or offer sending emails less frequently.

4. Reduce E-Waste

Millions of tons of electronic waste are generated every year – that’s equal to 1,000 laptops thrown away every second!

While it’s always good to have the latest technology – and certainly it’s important to have technology that works, it’s good to resist the urge to upgrade to the latest model right when its released. Take care of your current technology so that it lasts for as long as possible.

When you’re ready to change your tech, if your products still work – why not consider selling them or donating to local organisations? Here at Cosmic we recycle our computers where possible and set them up ready for others to use to increase their digital skills! But other local non-profits and environmental organisations often collect e-waste, as well as some electronic retailers.

Another note to add, is when you do need to upgrade and purchase new tech, research as much as possible into the equipment to make sure it will be, not only of use to you and your business, but be as environmentally-friendly as possible.

5. Determine your Current Carbon Footprint

If you want to investigate your current carbon footprint and find ways to cut down, here’s some links to a few calculators:

We can’t completely cut down on everything cold turkey, but if everyone did their little bit, we can certainly help with cutting down our carbon footprint!