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How to Reduce Digital Waste

How to Reduce Digital Waste

How to Reduce Digital Waste

Digital waste is far more real and environmentally threatening than the name might suggest.

Digital waste is the piling up of old, useless files and other digital memory that compromises the integrity of various electronics, usually by cluttering up the device’s memory to the point where it no longer functions properly.

This creates a strong link between digital waste and e-waste, which comprises several categories of electronics, including computers, televisions, and batteries.  Not only can these devices negatively harm plant and animal life, they also tend to contain chemicals that can poison human beings, cause birth defects, and even kill. 

This makes the reduction of digital waste a critical priority for metropolises, villages, and everybody in between.

Why Reduce E-Waste? It’s the Law

In many places, such as New York, improper disposal of e-waste can result in fines of $100 per item. That means if you throw out your television, an old computer tower, and the corresponding monitor in the ordinary garbage, you can be hit with a $300 fine.

If you want to get the government off your back, you’re going to have to pay a little more than you otherwise would have, but $20 in gas is much less than $300 in fines.

Waste Reduction Strategies

Finding a way to recycle old hard drives and computers can be quite the challenge. However, by employing the following tidbits of advice into your daily routine, you can reduce the amount of devices that you’ll have to throw away, further reducing your e-waste.

Step 1: Delete Unused Applications

If you find that your computer is low on storage space, the most likely culprit behind the disappearance of your hard drive’s “free space” is to be found in the “Applications” folder. Applications are software that you download for any number of purposes from Garageband to Twitter.

Many of these applications are so large that they have to be measured in gigabytes rather than megabytes, making them a substantial burden on 128-gigabyte-or-smaller hard drives. If you find that the “last accessed” date for a large application is more than six months ago, chances are you can delete it without ever missing it.

Step 2: Delete Files and Folders that are No Longer Needed

Once those pesky applications are out of the way, you might see that you have cleaned up anywhere between 100 megabytes and 20 gigabytes (20,000 megabytes) of free space. However, if you’re closer to the former than the latter, you’ll need to start gutting the “Documents” library as well.

To do so, simply open the library and scroll through the documents, deleting each of the unnecessary documents and moving the important documents to the cloud. You can make this process easier by sorting the documents according to their size before searching through them.


Now that you’ve cleaned up your computer by deleting unnecessary applications and organizing your files, you should see that your digital waste has been thoroughly trashed. Not only should this make your computer faster and improve its usability, but it should also improve its lifespan, thus decreasing your total lifetime output of e-waste.