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How to Participate in Digital Cleanup Day 

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Digital Cleanup Day is an excellent campaign in which everybody is asked to clean up their digital footprint. The internet network is here with us and will probably stay with us for a long time. And like many good inventions, the internet and technology have drawbacks too. 

Each year, the internet and its supporting systems produce 900 million tons of CO2, according to the Digital Cleanup Day organization. These include unnecessary e-mails, files, phone’s cache, important documents, apps, and duplicate photos and videos, all of which are digital waste

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In this national spring cleaning month, it’s up to you to take charge of the digital waste you produce too. You may have an idea of how to do that. In detail, I’ll take you through a step-by-step on how to participate in Digital Clean-up Day, which falls on March 18. 

How to Participate in Digital Cleanup Day

There are various ways to take part in a digital cleanup day. Whether you’re an individual, family, or organization, there are various unique yet similar steps you can take to reduce the emission of CO2 from polluting the environment. 

Guidelines for Individuals on Digital Cleanup Day

Step 1: Clean your smartphone up

Digital cleanup day meme depicting a lady deleting digital junk.
Source: 2023 Digital Clean Day licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

First of all, as an individual, scroll through your smartphone and take notice of the apps you haven’t used for a while. Then take the bold step of deleting them all. You may want to keep them to use later, but trust me, if you don’t use them for a while, you won’t need them later. 

You would have to delete these apps because they consume energy even when not in use and can consume hundreds of megabytes of data for periodic monthly updates. This World Cleanup Day encourages you to delete duplicate files or files with common names.

You may also want to assess your emails, discarding or deleting the ones you haven’t used in years. Remember to delete old text messages and clean your WhatsApp. Why keep duplicates of photos or long conversations on your phone?

Thirdly, scroll through your gallery and delete images you don’t need anymore. These may be blurred images taken a while ago, memes, WhatsApp images your friends shared with you, or images you saved via social media. Don’t forget to do the same with your videos!

Step 2: Clean your PC or laptop up

The next step to participating in a digital clean-up day is to clean up your personal computer, or PC. Look up the files you have no use for and delete them. You might want to check your Google Drive, then check your shared files and delete those documents you no longer have use for. 

I understand some movies are worth re-watching, but for the sake of the environment, it’s best to delete movies you have already watched as well. It’s unnecessary data on your digital equipment.

Step 3: Clean your mailbox up

Digital cleanup day meme depicting a man cleaning his device.
Source: 2023 Digital Clean Day licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Filter your email next, then remove any irrelevant messages. Targeting promotional emails as well as emails connected to your social media activities, is the best course of action in this situation. You can decide to archive critical emails as well, allowing you to designate them and prevent deleting them.

You must also delete unnecessary emails that come in the form of newsletters. Unsubscribe from these communications if they no longer serve your needs.

Step 4: Adjust your devices’ power settings

The next step is to set your devices to sleep mode and turn them off when you’re not using them. You should also lower the brightness of your screen and make sure your devices are in energy-saving mode as much as possible.

Step 5: Reduce streaming

Instead of streaming movies and music, download them whenever possible. 75% of global data traffic is streamed, and it consumes a lot of energy.

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Step 6: Make new Arrangements

Digital cleanup day meme depicting a man using only one device.
Source: 2023 Digital Clean Day licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

If you can make arrangements to meet in person to convey a message, then do so. Besides, human interaction is decreasing day in and day out, so why not take the opportunity to meet up instead of always sending an email? 

Another alternative is to make a phone call to convey simple follow-up interactions, appreciation, or seasonal greetings instead of sending an email. This way, you keep what needs to be kept via email.

You can also keep your files in the cloud so you don’t have to keep a copy on every device. Also, back up only the videos, files, and images that are vital to you, so you can discard the others. 

Small changes in your Internet habits, such as turning off video during a virtual meeting, reducing the quality of streaming services, decreasing gaming time, and limiting time on social media, can significantly reduce your environmental footprint!

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Guidelines for Organisations on Digital Cleanup Day

If you work in an organization or you’re the founder, follow the steps below on how to reduce digital footprints on a digital cleanup day. 

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Step 1: Reassess the files you need

Digital waste could be anything from pointless copies to forgotten backups to customer records kept for years, just in case. Understand that your digital footprint increases with every email you send, whether it contains files or not. 

If you work remotely, it’s possible that you use virtual workspaces daily.  It’s important to avoid using them irregularly and limit how many files you back up, especially those you don’t need. In this way, you can evaluate the efficiency of your digital procedures and reduce your digital footprint.

Step 2: Map your digital waste

Check your backup emails, servers, and other devices and delete any unnecessary items to help your organization to reduce digital waste.

Step 3: Organize a digital cleanup

Sensitize your staff about digital waste and emissions of CO2 and how they can help reduce them. You can go ahead and organize a digital cleanup day with your staff,  encouraging them to clean their personal and company devices. 

You can choose to create the activity as a contest or challenge that anyone can take part in to make it thrilling for everyone. Get rid of everything else and keep the business-critical information on cloud servers. Make sure to involve your IT staff in developing ideas for reducing inefficient digital behaviors.

Step 4: Implement practices that help control the digital waste issue

Your IT department can assist you in automating the removal of expired files at this stage. Have fewer, more efficient video meetings while setting up a virtual workspace. This is similar to how you would set up an office. Remind your staff of digital best practices on a regular basis, and renounce outdated systems.

Why should you care about Digital Cleanup Day?

Degital clean up day meme showcasing a man asking "what is digital trash"?
Source: 2023 Digital Clean Day licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

240 million emails are sent every minute, 20% of which are never even opened, making digital waste costly for both you and the environment. Whenever you back up or store unused data, you are charged monthly for the space.

By addressing the issue of your digital footprint, you reduce the stress that people and organizations place on the environment and establish a sustainable workflow.

Also, having too many systems reduces efficiency. Employee satisfaction is aided by a virtual office that is well-organized and transparent.

Participating in and organizing Digital Cleanup Day increases team spirit and cohesion. It’s a gathering to develop teams. It is cost-free, enjoyable, and has positive social and environmental effects.

By promoting digital cleanups, you contribute to raising awareness of the problem and igniting a societal conversation about how to address the intangible issue of digital pollution.

In summary, the carbon footprint of the Internet and its supporting systems contributes roughly 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions or the same amount as the worldwide aviation sector. By 2030, it is expected that the ICT sector will use 20% of the world’s energy.

By deleting all useless files, programs, images, and movies, you can extend the life of technology, feel more in control of your life, reduce your carbon footprint, and develop new digital habits.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Digital Cleanup Day?

Digital Cleanup Day is an event to encourage people to clean up their digital clutter, such as deleting old files, organizing folders, or cleaning up their email inboxes.

What date is World Digital Clean-up Day?

This year 2023, the digital cleanup day falls on March 18.

Why is Digital Clean Day important?

Cleaning up digital clutter regularly can have many benefits, including freeing up storage space, improving device performance, and reducing carbon emissions.

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Sedi Djentuh
Sedi Djentuh
Hey, Sedi here, a content writer. She's fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, tech and communication dedicated to empowering and spreading positive messages about humanity. She's an avid reader and a student of personal weekly workouts. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO.


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