Clean up your "digital dust"

Most of us make time for the occasional spring cleaning at home, but we often forget to do housekeeping for the digital spaces that we occupy.

According to home appliance manufacturer, Electrolux, the storage of computing data is increasingly impacting the environment due to the resulting CO2 emissions. An average email generating around 4g of CO2 emissions during its lifetime, while the average size of a person's inbox consists of about 8,000 emails.

In order to help consumers manage their "digital dust" better, the company released a free web tool known as the World Wide Vac. The inspiration for this tool is said to come from its Ultraflex vacuum cleaner, which was designed to be able to reach every corner of the home.

The World Wide Vac enables you to analyse the contents of their Gmail inbox and to then decide between three levels of cleaning to tidy up your e-mail account: Small, Medium or Large.

The Small option focuses on deleting unread social and promotional e-mail messages. Meanwhile, choosing the Medium option allows you to also target unread e-mail messages that are older than three years (with the exception of those sent from personal contacts or from your own account), spam and trash, and messages filtered for negative words such as "offer" or "discount". (Conversely, those containing positive words like "receipt" or "password" are retained). Lastly, the Large option offers the same cleaning capabilities as Medium, with the addition of removing all messages that are older than three years.

Once the World Wide Vac has cleaned up your account, it will inform you of the CO2 emissions savings you have caused through deleting your old and unused data.

Electrolux assures users of the World Wide Vac that no personal details or data would be retained by the company throughout the digital cleaning process.

Access the World Wide Vac widget at www.worldwidevac.com.

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