Digital Cleanup Week: time to get rid of digital waste

The Digital Cleanup Week will take place at the University of Tartu for the fifth time from 22 to 26 January. The university invites everyone to dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to getting rid of digital waste and making small but efficient steps towards a more sustainable digital life. 

The university invites all members of the university family to take part in the Digital Cleanup Week and register their participation via the web form. The form can be used to enter the results separately for each day or for all days at once. Registered participants are entered into a daily prize draw to win exciting prizes from the university's gift shop. For the raffle, only one entry per person will count.

Cleaning up your digital waste helps free up storage space on your smart devices and make them faster so you can use them longer. Secondly, organising files and data makes it easier to find and share information and increases the security of cloud services. In addition, deleting digital waste helps reduce our carbon footprint so everyone can contribute to protecting the environment. 


The university invites everyone to clean up digital waste every day

Take a moment to organise your computer files and the documents in them. 

For example, you can start by cleaning up your desktop: delete unnecessary files and sort the ones you need into folders by topic. Clean the browser, clear your cache and visit history, and remove unnecessary extensions. Delete programs you no longer need or use. 

See also IT helpdesk guides on how to free up space on your computer

During this day, take a look at your phone. First, uninstall the apps you no longer use and clear the app cache. Delete unnecessary files, organise your photos and delete all blurry ones or duplicates. If you have taken multiple pictures at an event, preserve only the best ones. Find a cloud service of your choice to upload photos to. 

See IT helpdesk guides on cleaning up Android and iPhone devices.

Open the drawer or cabinet where you’ve stored all your old or unwanted equipment and media. See what you can recycle. Storage media can be taken to the special bins placed in university buildings.  

From 22 to 26 January, you may also bring old phones, cables, computers and other devices to the IT helpdesk specialists (IT helpdesk at Ülikooli 18a, ground floor) or the Institute of Physics (W. Ostwaldi 1, room A404). IT helpdesk points out that if the device you bring them is in working order, it is advisable to empty it of personal data. If you need help emptying the device, please inform the helpdesk specialist when handing over the device. If you want to bring many old devices, please notify the IT helpdesk in advance by emailing   

See IT helpdesk guides on disposing of old electronic devices and clearing data from old devices.

Unsubscribe from unimportant newsletters and delete spam. See IT helpdesk guides on cleaning up the Microsoft 365 and Google environments.

On the last day of the Digital Cleanup Week, take the time to review all the other environments you use. For example, delete Teams or Zoom meeting recordings, organise your course Moodle pages, and check Panopto, BigBlueButton, Mahara, Sisu@UT and LimeSurvey.

If you don’t manage all, pick one and focus on that. 


On 26 January, the nationwide Digital Cleanup Day will take place, led by Telia Eesti AS. More information about the day is available on the Telia website


General principles for reducing digital waste 

  • Before buying a new device, consider whether you really need it. 
  • If a device does not work properly or is out of date, don’t buy a new one immediately but have it repaired. 
  • If you no longer need your old device, don’t leave it in a drawer, but consider donating, selling or recycling it. 
  • Choose an energy-efficient product that has a long lifespan and is made from sustainable materials. 
  • Use cloud services, as storing data in the cloud reduces the need for physical storage space. 
  • Reduce unnecessary data storage. 


Bins for unnecessary external data carriers 


In cooperation with the Estates Office, the IT Office has placed special digital waste bins in the university’s academic buildings (Nooruse 1, Ravila 14a, Ravila 19, W. Ostwaldi 1, Riia 23, Jakobi 2, Lossi 36, Ülikooli 18, Ülikooli 18a, Narva mnt 18, Vanemuise 46, J. Liivi 2, Lossi 3, Näituse 20 and W. Struve 1). The bins are meant for unnecessary external data carriers: flash drives, floppy disks, CDs and DVDs, smart cards, cassettes, and old video and audio tapes. 

Please do not put hard drives, phones and other electronic devices in the digital waste bins. 

The labelled bins will be available in the study buildings from 22 January to 1 February


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