How to be tech savvy AND eco-friendly this Earth Day

ByKim Staples
Connections around the world

22 April means the world to us. Why? Because it’s Earth Day, of course. It’s the day when we’re encouraged to love our planet and do what we can do protect the environment.

And guess what - you don't have to give up your high-powered gadgets to be kind to the Earth. Read on for a few tips to help reconcile your love of tech with the pressing guilt of what humanity is doing to the environment.

Recycle your old mobile

Don't throw away or hold onto your old mobile phones - give them new life.

Stack of old phones

There are dozens of companies that will recycle your phone, and some providers - such as O2 - have their own recycling schemes, so you can pass on your old mobile when you get a new one. Even older phones are often eligible for recycling, since they often have re-usable innards. Take a look at our guide for more.

Get a smart thermostat

Turning your central heating down by just one degree Celsius can supposedly save you up to £60 per year - so it's safe to say your radiators use up a lot of energy. Turning it down a degree or two is always a good idea.

And the good news is that there are even ways to do this for those of us who are just that little bit too lazy to get up from the sofa once we get all warm and cosy… and they're perfect for a techie.

Smart thermostats, like the Nest, can be controlled entirely through your smartphone. When it's too much effort to drag yourself off a nice comfy sofa, it's far easier to just whip out your phone and turn the heating down from there.

Buy some environmentally friendly accessories

Accessories are great for personalising your gadgets, but there's no need for them to all be made of environmentally-unfriendly plastic. Instead, how about this organic hemp tablet sleeve? Or a funky green felt laptop case? A gorgeous wooden iPhone case? An entirely bamboo speaker that you don't even have to plug in? If you're crafty, you could even make your own cases and sleeves by repurposing old fabric.

Get some Philips Hue Connected Bulbs

Philips Hue lights

Philips Hue light bulbs are the ultimate in eco-friendly tech-savviness. They use around 80% less power than normal light bulbs, and you can control them from your smartphone. Alter the brightness, change their colour, and even switch them on and off remotely - perfect for when you left the hall light on but can't be bothered to get up and turn it off.

Use rechargeable batteries

Remote controls, speakers, lights, and all kinds of gadgets need batteries. Go green by getting some rechargeable batteries and a battery charger - not only will you be helping the environment by not contributing to landfills full of battery acid, you'll also save a few bob in the long term. Keep a couple of pairs in rotation, and you'll always have some ready-charged.

As for non-rechargeable ones, don't chuck them away when the run out - recycle them instead. Supermarkets and other shops often have buckets for putting your used batteries in.

Pick socially-conscious companies

There's a lot of eco-friendly habits you can get into in your own home, but the real energy-wasters tend to be big companies. Even for things like broadband and mobile providers, you can vote green with your wallet.

We like TPO Mobile, aka The People's Operator. 10% of what you pay each month goes to a charity of your choice, and you're welcome to pick one of the many green charities that the provider is partnered with.

Even if TPO's plans aren't for you, we recommend picking a mobile network that you know has good coverage where you live, work, and spend time. Constantly searching for signal can drain your phone's battery life, which means having to recharge, which takes up energy, which… you get the idea. Anyway, take a look at our guide to mobile coverage for a hand here.

Switch things off when you're not using them

Switch

Yes, we're sure you've heard it a million times, but to save energy it's really important to switch your electronics off when you're not using them. Don't leave TVs and computers on standby - it's still using up energy to power them - and when your phone, tablet, or laptop is fully charged, switch the charger off at the plug.

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