Data Recycling

The Problem

It has become so easy to create data that it is now done without thinking. Everyday actions such as creating new files, duplicating existing files and emailing a file to friends all create new data in the process. The increase in network speeds have made it even easier to create duplicated data in various places.

If this data is not disposed of properly, it is either released into the atmosphere or stored in sea- or land-fill sites.


Professor Shirley Temple

Unwanted data is removed from most computers by dispelling it into the atmosphere using a fan, normally located to the rear of the computer. Some newer and portable devices use a static charge to dispel the data into the air.

Wireless internet and bluetooth devices also lose data into the air when placed too far apart.

Data in the atmosphere is safe in small quantities, but measurements of airborne data by environmental agencies show that concentrations have been increasing exponentially, and by 2014 they could be at dangerous levels if something is not done soon.

Atmospheric data is measured in kB/m3 (kilobytes per cubic meter) at sea level. The average worldwide level of airborne data is currently estimated to be around 1.96 kB/m3, although concentrations of up to 500 kB/m3 have been recorded, which are already having serious effects.

See also

Effects of Atmospheric Data Pollution

Data Corruption

Airborne data can find its way into other devices, mixing with that device's own data, and possibly corrupting files.

Interference With Airborne Signals

DataScope Cloud View

Airborne data in high enough quantities can interrupt and interfere with various information transmitted through the air, such as radio, television, wireless and bluetooth communications.

Large data 'clouds' also reflect radar signals, causing problems with air-traffic control and creating security alerts.

Storage & Storage Media

Vast amounts of data are currently being disposed of in landfill and under-sea sites around the world. In order to prevent the data from escaping into the atmosphere, it must be stored on certain types of media such as magnetic disks, which are themselves environmentally unfriendly and take up a lot of space.

Power Requirements And Other Environmental Issues

It is estimated that up to one third of today's total worldwide power consumption is used in creating data. Each time a new document is created or a file is copied instead of moved, power is used to create the new data.

As with any energy use, this has an impact on physical world resources such as fossil fuels and oil and gas reserves, whose combustion causes increased CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.