Have you taken the bins out?

Have you seen people throw rubbish out of their car windows? It is as though once it is out of their sight, it is not their problem. The digital world is similar.

Every single email in your inbox, video on TikTok, document on Sharepoint, or photo in your cloud storage account is taking up space on a server somewhere in the world. Data on the carbon footprint of servers is hard to pin down (lots of variables). However, according to https://www.digitalcleanupday.org , in 2022 there were 70 million servers in use, each one producing 1-2 tons of CO2. And 90% of the data that we store on those servers is never accessed again, 3 months after it is stored; it’s just sitting there, wasting energy. That energy is keeping the servers running just in case you decide to read that document you saved years ago.

And we send emails as though they are free. Shockingly, one email produces on average 4g of CO2. That’s the same as a lightbulb being left on for 6 minutes. Do you really need to send an email that just says ‘thanks’?

By getting rid of digital clutter that we no longer need, we can:

  • Help reduce CO2 emissions
  • Prolong the lifespan of our devices
  • Reduce costs by freeing up capacity

Almost as a side-effect, it also reduces your data storage security risks. Data you don’t have can’t be stolen.

Digital Clean-up Day 2024

Digital clean-up day is March 16 this year. Why should you care?

By reducing the amount of data you no longer need but are storing ‘just in case’ (especially online), you could reduce your storage needs and reduce CO2 emissions.

By reducing unnecessary emails, you could reduce your storage needs, CO2 emissions and the mental overload for all those people whose inboxes are already busy.

www.digitalcleanupday.org has guidelines to help reduce your digital clutter, whether as an individual, a business, a school, or a council. They also offer a short series of learning modules to help those businesses who want to include digital waste reduction in their sustainability strategy.

Your data retention policy should cover how long you will keep information for, as well as how you will store it. Your data disposal policy should cover how you will dispose of data, depending on its sensitivity.

If you’d like help with creating data retention or data disposal policies—or any other information security policy—for your business, contact the Click and Protect team on 0113 733 6230, or via our contact form.