The Environmental Impact of Digital and Print Photos

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Even though it was a mild winter here at home, I am still so happy that Spring is here. I tend to get the cleaning and organizing bug every year around this time. Lately, my organizing includes both physical and digital stuff. Even though digital clutter is essentially invisible it still affects me, both that it exists and the relief when it is taken care of.

With Spring cleaning in full force and Earth Day coming up I want to share some information about the impact of cleaning physical and digital photos. Did you know that last year there were 1.8 trillion photos taken, this breaks down to 54,000 photos taken each second. In our highly digital and connected era, one would assume that the majority of these photos are digital. It’s only been recently that I have questioned the impact of this number. Without giving it too much thought, one would assume that cloud storage is some unknown entity with no physical space. This is definitely not the case. When you utilize cloud storage your information is held in a large physical location with many hard drives running all the time. This large use of electricity does impact our carbon footprint. When you clean up your photo library you save space on your computer. You also decrease your expenses for cloud storage and help save the environment for future generations. That’s a big win!

Graphic to demonstrate the number of photos taking in 2023

Now what about those print photos? Reduce, reuse, recycle! It’s a little late to reduce, except for moving forward, so let’s see how we can reuse those old photos. You can get crafty, donate old photos to a historical society, or put them up on a ‘give free’ local group. You can donate them to Goodwill or try selling them to an antique store. There are also a few companies that will help find family members who might want them. If you want to destroy the photos consider shredding or ripping them up, especially if you are concerned about privacy. If you want to recycle your photos be aware that not all photos can be recycled. It’s usually fine for newer photos but because of the chemicals in the printing process of older photos, they can not be recycled and must go in the trash.

Now is a good time to get started organizing and cleaning your photos. Now is the time to bring those old memories back to life. How you go about this is just one piece to consider. My mission here at Living Joy Photo Organizing is to bring Joy back to your photo collection. I take great pride in providing this service to my clients.

Happy photo organizing and ENJOY those photos!

Find Joy

in your photos again.