Playing video games is a serious hobby of millions of people around the world. In fact, video games recently overtook movies as the most popular form of home entertainment. People young and old are spending countless hours traversing virtual worlds, fighting fictional monsters, and solving digital puzzles.
But there are a lot of issues with being a gamer — it can be a costly and wasteful hobby, and not just because the games themselves are expensive. There is also the environmental impact to consider.
Using gaming consoles and computers for entertainment purposes may seem innocuous, but the energy consumption involved with powering them is actually quite phenomenal. In addition to the power used by the device itself, players may also be at work or doing chores and keep their consoles “on” for convenience- even if they’re not using them. Finally, there’s all that plastic packaging and heavy box materials from new games.
In this article, we’ll be discussing ways to reduce the environmental impact of gaming as a hobby.
Monitor Power Usage
The best way to reduce the environmental impact of gaming is to simply monitor your power usage while you game. Many consoles and televisions will indicate how much energy they’re using at any given moment — and some will even evaluate total cost over time. It will also help to check your domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Just by being aware of how much energy you’re using, gamers can take steps towards reducing their environmental footprint.
Powering down your console between play sessions is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy usage. There’s also the option of using sleep modes, which will shut down your console after a certain period. Always check the manual before trying to power down or switch into standby mode with your device.
Monitor the Amount of Waste You Create
Another way to make sure you’re reducing the environmental impact of gaming is to simply monitor what kind of waste you create while you game. Unfortunately, most consoles and their accompanying games come in plastic packaging. It may seem harmless, but much of the plastic packaging are not recycled and end up in a landfill or, worse, in nature.
It’s better to buy video games digitally. While consoles will always come packaged in layers of single-use plastic and bubblewrap, video games can be purchased and downloaded from the convenience of your home. It’s free from all that excess packaging, and you can even save space in your own household by using an online account.
Finally, keep an eye on how much garbage you’re creating while playing games-from used batteries to expired ones that need to be properly disposed of. Gamers go through a lot of devices and gadgets. It’s important to dispose of electronics in an environment-conscious way.
Watch What You Eat
Gamers tend to snack a lot when they’re in-game. All those snack wrappers have to go somewhere when you toss them out.
It may seem harmless since they’re so small, but collectively, tons and tons of waste gets created from gamers snacking while playing games.
In addition, there are also growing concerns over the amount of waste created from single-use plastics like straws and cutlery. As we’ve mentioned before, plastic has become such an integral part of life that we often take it for granted and don’t realize how harmful it can be to the environment.
That’s why it’s important to eat in moderation while gaming, or better yet, avoid snacking altogether. The same goes for drinking. Just one bottle of water, soda, or energy drink can create a ton of waste if you’re not careful. Avoid using straws and plastic bottles, whether you’re playing video games at home or hanging out with friends at the local arcade.
Demand Eco-Friendly Practices from Gaming Industry
Finally, it’s important to call upon the gaming industry to do its part in making gaming environmentally friendly. As we’ve discussed here already, much of the packaging and waste created from modern video games can be reduced or eliminated with a few lifestyle changes.
It’s up to every gamer to make these requests known and demand more sustainable practices from gaming companies. One way to do this is by signing petitions and sending letters of concern-just remember you’re putting your money where your mouth is and spending it on video games so that these concerns can be heard.
It’s up to every gamer to make sure the industry hears their voice.
Make conscious choices about when and how you play games when you’ve started reducing your environmental footprint by monitoring energy usage levels, packaging waste, and creating landfill trash.