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A typical data farm, unused data has a huge carbon footprint

Go Green by Cleaning your Dirty Data

Are your accidental screenshots harming the planet?

What’s is dirty data and why is it a problem?

It’s an area that no one really thinks about in the day of copious amounts of data and technology. We are all creating vast amounts of data and all this is stored somewhere in the cloud one way of another. The logging into your laptop, tablet or phone, the payments, the transactions, the emails, all of it! Some of this data collection is out of control and it can be challenging to reduce the amount collected with ease.

Dirty data, the environmental impact of data storage.

However, there is data out there we willingly create that is certainly within our control! We all love to create memories by taking videos and pictures at weddings, birthdays, holidays, nights out and create fun memories we will one day print and look through or add to our albums or post online.

Ever taken a screenshot or pictures of things we want to come back to or use it as some sort of reminder and never do?

If you had a look at your iPhone or android back up, you’ll be surprised to see how many GB’s of data is taken up by pictures videos, emails, notes and so on…

What’s the impact?

All of this data then remains on our phones, backed up into the cloud several times by the providers of phones and data storage such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft being the largest.

This data however, doesn’t just sit in the cloud. There are data centres spread across the globe that are high security facilities. These facilities require a lot of maintenance! Hiring the people, creating the storage facilities and most importantly, the cooling and powering of these data centre facilities too.

Still not sure about the impact this has on the planet? Check out this article from Earth.org – Environmental Impact of Cloud Computing

What’s the solution?

Imagine if we all took a small time out of the month to clear some of the blurry photos or screenshots, memes and videos and emails we no longer need?

On average there are almost 2 smartphones per person on the planet. That’s 15 billion phones! Now imagine a world where the redundant data we create is deleted. Even if that was only 2GB per phone that would be 3 million terabytes! That’s a lot of data centre space, power, and cooling!

How can I clean my data?

  1. Set a reminder to clear unwanted emails photos and videos on all your devices once per week
  2. Delete your spam folder – most providers have a delete all feature
  3. Unsubscribe from as many mailing lists as possible! (except this one!)

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