We create enough e-waste every year to build a Great Wall of China. 90% of the data we create become waste within three months. Our webpages are ten times heavier now than they were 15 years ago, full of bloated unnecessary code and content. Our apps are full of unnecessary features. Over 90% of the pages we create aren’t even indexed by Google, and more than 90% of apps launched are never used again a couple of months after they’re first downloaded. We create so much useless digital stuff … just because we can.
Digital is physical. Making an 150 g smartphone requires 90 KG of mined material and 13,000 liters of water. To make a smartphone causes 60 KG of CO2. To make a laptop causes 300 KG of CO2. The Cloud is on the ground. To make one of the millions of servers used in data centers causes between one and two tons of CO2 per server.
E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. It is hugely toxic and less than 20% of it is recycled. By 2040, we’ll be able to build TWO Great Walls of China with e-waste. Good digital design can reduce e-waste and data waste by creating lighter designs and by creating code that works with the oldest devices possible. Good digital design focuses on maintainability and reuse. It focuses on using the least energy and the least data possible. It is time that digital designers took their responsibility to the environment seriously.
Webinar with Gerry McGovern, author of the book “World Wide Waste”.
More about the book: World Wide Waste.
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