Mac mindfulness: Top tips for reducing the environmental impact of your (new) Mac

For many of us, getting the very latest Mac device is a must-have. But our haste to upgrade can come at more cost than just the purchase price. Do you know what happens to your old device when you dispose of it? Have you considered the impact of frequent upgrading on the environment?

With the population, in general, becoming more eco-aware, Mac users could in fact unwittingly be contributing to the current environmental imbalance when upgrading devices, in the belief that their old ones are being responsibly discarded. New research from CleanMyMac X, carried out in the UK, France and Germany by Arlington Research, found that 70% of Mac users believe their Macs are either put to good use, recycled, reused or returned to Apple when disposed of.

However, in reality, less than 40% of e-waste (discarded electrical or electronic devices) is recycled. The EU and US create the most amount of e-waste but this is often exported to other countries, which wilfully and irresponsibly puts the world at risk. This results in unnecessary carbon emissions, mounting landfill, and non-biodegradable waste which all has a damaging effect on the stability of our environment.

So, what can users do to firstly make sure they aren’t contributing to this scenario by keeping their Macs going stronger for longer, and secondly practice responsible disposal habits when it is time to upgrade?

Simple steps to prolong the life of your Mac

  1. Clean up your cache: Although useful, these files take up a lot of space on your device and instead of speeding things up, they can slow things down
  2. Uninstall apps you don’t use: Apps take up space and will eventually slow your device down. Deleting those you don’t need will give your Mac a new lease of life
  3. Delete duplicates: As with apps you don’t need, duplicate files – including photos or music downloads – could be hampering speed and performance
  4. Don’t forget to take out the trash: Much like an overflowing waste bin will affect the cleanliness of your home, deleted files need disposing of completely from the trash bin so as not to impact available space and device usability

Top tips for responsible disposal

  • Trade, not trash: When you are ready for an upgrade, schemes such as Apple Trade-In will not only ensure your device is recycled but give you credit towards your next purchase making it a win-win solution
  • Donate to make a difference: Consider gifting your old device to a local charity, school, or organization, to help make a difference to people in the community. There are many local, national, and global schemes that aim to support vulnerable and disadvantaged people with access to technology, including CfC
  • Sell-on: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We know that Macs are highly desirable but often come at a price point that isn’t an option for some. While not the latest version, your unwanted device could still be perfectly usable for someone else to use and enjoy

Whatever way you responsibly dispose of your Mac, make sure you create back-ups of everything, sign out of all apps, clear user settings to restore security features that might have been altered, and finally erase the hard drive and reinstall macOS.

It’s up to all individuals across the globe to play their part in taking care of the planet. Being more mindful about device usage and disposal will go a long way to protecting the environment for current and future generations.