Besides being at the very least entertaining for us, technology has been fully integrated into our lives. Some may argue for the better, and others for the worse. While e-waste is undoubtedly a severe problem for consumers, manufacturers, and our planet, there is a silver lining. From your cheeky intelligent home device to your latest phone case, read on to find out six ways that technology has helped us consume less waste.
- Smart Home Devices Save Time and Energy — Your Google Home or Alexa device is doing more than telling you the weather and playing your latest Spotify playlist. These smart devices are also helping save the environment because they’re shutting off power to devices that aren’t in use and thereby conserving energy. It’s not just your witty big tech device with a lot of sass when you ask them if they can pass the Turing test. It can also be a typical appliance like a fridge. For example, if you accidentally left your fridge door open, your fridge will likely beep loudly to remind you that you’ve left the door open and should close it.
- Technology Reminds Us to Conserve Resources — Your fridge can do more than make loud noises when you’ve left the freezer door open. If you have a smart appliance, it can alert you when you have an issue or a part that you need to replace. Instead of replacing the whole dishwasher or laundry machine, you need to worry about replacing one or two defunct parts. Your major appliance doesn’t need to take up precious space in a landfill somewhere.
- We Use Less Paper — While becoming an utterly paperless society seems far out of reach, we are indeed using less paper and therefore cutting down fewer trees. More readers are choosing eBooks and audiobooks over traditional hard copies. When were you last bought a DVD since you’ve moved over to Netflix or Hulu? Fewer DVDs and fewer physical books mean less wasteful packaging for those DVD cases and disks and fewer trees that had to be cut down to make those thousands and thousands of copies for that latest romance bestseller. To make sure you’re being as efficient as possible when watching that Netflix special, encourage yourself, your family, and your friends to ensure their iPads are covered with the latest iPad cases to protect their devices. That way, they don’t accidentally drop it or spill their wine on it and have to get a new one, leading to more unnecessary e-waste.
- We’re Getting Smarter — Technology is more than that funny viral cat video you want to share. In our schools, children use more personal devices and smartboards instead of traditional pen and paper. These same classrooms are upgrading to conserve energy with more intelligent climate control, offering learning opportunities for students to learn about environmental resources and conservation in real-time. For the adults who aren’t in school, we’re working smarter all around and learning how to be more sustainable in more ways than one. We’re streamlining supply chains and improving the production process across all industries.
- Healthier and Happier Humans — We have apps on our phones that encourage us and remind us to get in 10,000 steps every day. Those same apps can track our water intake or incentivize us to eat more veggies. In addition to working on physical fitness, we’re also improving our mental well-being. The next time you go out for a run or get in your daily 10,000 steps with your walking buddy, make sure that your phone and your workout buddy’s phone are protected with phone cases. You’ll want to do the same thing for your AirPods with an AirPods case cover to ensure your earphones don’t get damaged. In your own home, you can use intelligent bulbs to reduce blue light at a designated time to protect your vision and improve sleep patterns. You can adjust the blue light settings on your other electronic devices as well to protect your eyes. Look into sustainable blue light glasses to protect your eyes from the harmful blue light spectrum that our screens emit. That way, you’re watching your eyes in style and helping the environment — all at the same time.
- Technology Helps Reduce Food Waste — According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption is lost every year. Technology is attempting to reduce this food waste by keeping food out of landfills through data collection and analysis. Reports can alert restaurants and grocery stores to surplus food that can direct items to people who could benefit from that surplus instead of throwing out that food. In your own home, your smart fridge can help you and your family track expiration dates. Some fridges even offer creative recipes for food that’s about to expire.
So even though technology can get a bad rap due to increases in screentime or constant distractions, there are plenty of ways smart tech has helped conserve energy in our daily lives. Hopefully, this list will inspire more ways you can use your smart devices to promote a greener lifestyle.