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19th Apr 2021

How you can use your tech to live more sustainably

George McKay

In partnership with HP inc.

You’d had to have been living under a rock for the past few years to be completely unaware of the climate crisis facing this planet and all life on it

The issue dominates headlines, inspires political marches, and stirs up intense emotions ranging from paralysing fear to solidarity and resolution for change. But it’s easy to feel like you don’t know where to start to do your part in the fight against climate change, and that in itself can feel demoralising.

But change needn’t always feel quite so daunting, and in fact simple changes can be made to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle. And things don’t always have to feel like a sacrifice.

We live in an age of technology, where seemingly every problem can be solved with a new engineering or technical solution. And sustainable living is no exception. There is a wealth of technological innovations which have helped people modify their lives to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

From apps, to gadgets, to straight up sci-fi inventions, tech is your ally when it comes to helping you make better habits, with brands becoming increasingly aware of the demands their consumers place on them. It’s important, then, that you find those brands that align with your values.

There are simple ways that you can use technology to live more sustainably, and most of those decisions start at home, where a good chunk of our carbon footprint comes from. It’s no surprise that most of us use fossil fuels to heat our home, and indeed cook our food, but simple technological innovations abound for reducing the levels of harm we do to the environment through our daily lives.

For example, if you are worried about your energy consumption at home, you might align yourself with an energy firm which provides smart metres. These nifty little gadgets will tell you where and when you are expending most of your energy, so that you can take steps to modify your behaviours. You could even take it one step further and choose to get your energy from a brand like Bulb or Octopus energy who offer completely renewable energy alongside their smart metres. Similarly, newly internet-connected devices like your lights, heating and even your fridge, can be used to tell you when you can cut back on your energy usage in your home.

You can even purchase intelligent home heating systems that learn your habits. They determine when you are in, when you are out, and takes into account factors like the weather to keep your home heated evenly and more sustainably. These nifty little things will also save you a bit of pocket money over time.

Thinking about what your tech is made from can also help. There are brands out there like audio specialist House of Marley, which has ditched unsustainable plastic in their record turntables and uses FSC-certified wood, sustainable bamboo and recycled fabrics. Tech giant HP are also incorporating renewable materials like beetroot pulp, eggshells and fruit peels in their new HP Spectre 14 laptop, which also arrives in sustainably sourced packaging.

There are also green hacks you can make while you’re out and about. Feeling peckish? Rather than popping to a supermarket or fast-food place, use an app that fights food waste and saves you money in the process. These apps are designed to let you know when local shops and businesses are getting ready to throw out food, so you can take it for a reduced price, all while minimising food waste.

When deciding on a route to get you from A to B, think of the mantra of the modern era – there’s an app for that. If you’re concerned about the carbon footprint of your driving, consider downloading an app which presents you not with the easiest or quickest route necessarily, but the least harmful route that will have minimal impact on the environment.

Ultimately, the best way to use your tech to live sustainably is to find the brands you vibe with. If you put your money where your mouth is, you are sending a message to these brands that sustainable living is the way forward. The power of the pound is a sure-fire way of initiating change. If you need a helping hand on making sure you are buying from brands that align with your values, check out sites such as Good on You, an app which rates and compares fashion brands based on their ethical and eco credentials.

Voting with your wallet has never been more important, whether it’s the clothes you wear, food you eat or the technology you use to access it all. HP, for instance, is recognised as having the world’s most sustainable PC portfolio, as well as being logged as one of the most ethical companies in the world. They have eliminated deforestation for HP branded paper  since 2016 and have committed to eradicating 75 per cent of single use plastic in HP packaging by 2025. Newsweek has also named them as the most responsible company in America for environmental, social and governance performance for two years in a row

But it’s not just about reducing waste in this country. Last year, HP expanded its initiative in tackling the problem of ocean-bound plastics in Haiti through a major investment to build a high-tech plastic ‘washing line’ . This new facility employs local collectors, who pick up plastic from Haiti’s streets, canals, and beaches, otherwise destined for the ocean. This plastic is sorted, washed and shredded in order to be recycled into future HP products. Since launching the ocean-plastics programme in 2016, HP has diverted more than 1.7 million pounds (771 tonnes) – equivalent to over 60 million bottles – of ocean-bound plastic.

We can’t all live a perfectly eco-life. But, there are many routes to living more sustainably and it’s important to remember to try to do your bit. In order to make long-lasting and meaningful tweaks to your life, find the services and products that allow you to make those changes to the best of your ability.