3 Ways Technology Can Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

Image by David Bruyland from Pixabay

Technology makes our lives easier in many ways, from streamlining our day-to-day activities to offering mobile accessibility that lets us work and play on the go. As technology continues to evolve, it is also helping governments, businesses and individuals lessen their impact on the environment. From reducing waste to improving energy efficiency, here are just three ways that technology is making our lives eco-friendlier and cutting our environmental footprint.

Embedded SIMs

The traditional SIM card used in a mobile device consists of a plastic card with a silicon integrated circuit chip. While the plastic border has been reduced over the years, there is still the problem of what to do with unwanted SIMs and the packaging. One recent development is the embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM). Phone manufacturers are increasingly producing devices with these rewritable, non-removable eSIMs, which users can activate using a QR code. One application is for people travelling overseas, who can buy a Europe eSIM or one for other regions and individual countries, allowing them to access mobile data and avoid roaming charges.

As the technology is still relatively new, most devices with eSIM compatibility will also have a slot for a physical SIM. However, widespread take-up of eSIMs has the potential to eventually eliminate the need for a physical SIM and cut the amount of plastic waste produced. Currently, around 4.5 billion SIM cards are manufactured annually, but it has been estimated that by the end of the decade, globally, 6.7 billion smartphone connections will be eSIM-enabled, equal to 76% of all such connections.

Artificial intelligence

Among its many other applications, artificial intelligence (AI) has a significant role to play in sustainability and mitigating the impacts of climate change. This role extends to businesses, governments and individuals. On the largest scale, AI can help with such functions as city planning, weather forecasting, and air quality monitoring, all of which can lead to widespread improvements. Applying AI to satellite imagery can also help scientists by providing predictive capabilities and offering the ability to analyse complex datasets. This allows them to model potential future scenarios and to understand what is happening in real time.

On an individual level, AI can help us to make more sustainable choices and to cut our environmental footprint. One way it can do this is by tracking personal carbon emissions through a website or app. For example, the tracker can trace smartphone GPS data and smart devices to gather information on the user’s transportation and energy usage. It can also track waste generation and food consumption. By harnessing this data and applying AI algorithms, users can gain real-time insights into their daily activities and receive advice on how they can cut their carbon emissions. The overall aim is to promote sustainable behaviours and eco-friendly choices. The data can also be grouped to provide a snapshot of a population’s carbon footprint, helping to shape public policy.

Smart home technology

As well as offering convenience, smart home technology is designed to help people to improve their property’s energy efficiency. Smart thermostats and appliances are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and can be controlled via an app. This means that users can, for example, turn on their heating just before they arrive home or turn it off remotely if they forget to do so before they leave for work in the morning. In addition, by installing smart meters, users can continually monitor their energy usage and make adjustments that can save them money on their bills, as well as being more eco-friendly. For example, the smart meter can indicate the best time to run the washing machine to take advantage of lower electricity tariffs.

Smart technology is being incorporated into all areas of the home, such as smart leak detection that can save water waste and smart plugs which aim to encourage people to stop leaving their appliances in standby mode. There are also smart light bulbs and lighting systems that offer energy saving features and app-based control. As well as the evolution of AI, the development of the Internet of Things will only accelerate the shift to the smart home.


As more organisations state a commitment to reduce waste and reach net-zero carbon emissions across their operations, they are turning to technologies that support their sustainability journey. Likewise, in the consumer market, there is a demand for products and solutions that help people to reduce their environmental footprint. All this means that we can expect to see the further development of technology with a greener focus.