News – EFF “Recycle Important Data (RiD) 2021” to be Implemented Nationwide

On the heels of the successful and popular Electronic Frontier (EFF) Foundation Pixel-Recycling Program of 2018 comes a new unprecedented initiative to rid the planet of important but unnecessary data. Recycle Important Data (RiD) 2021 is the solution to an urgent and vexing environmental challenge: pesky self-important data that doesn't need to exist and should be recycled to make room for the next decade of seemingly important data. These unwanted bits are creating a visual and spiritual degradation of important natural environments threatening habitats, fauna, and flora.

In an effort to dramatically reduce an unsightly, unhealthy, and ecologically problematic abundance of misused bytes of data on hard drives, flash memory, and Sony memory sticks littering our nation’s computer desktops and floating in cyberspace, the EFF RiD Recycling Iniative for 2021 will be rolled out this Thursday. Citizens are encouraged to bring or send their surplus data, files, videos, music, and images created by MFA graduates in Photography to designated locations for eco-friendly disposal/re-use. 

In a significant shift from the current EFF Pixel-Recycling Program, which aimed to recycle used and outdated data, the RiD 2021 Iniative is designated only for those critical files that normally require endless backups to preserve, thus making the problem even worse. Schemes by computer memory merchants, such as World Backup Day, only serve to sell mechanisms, solid state memory, and subscriptions to so-called “Cloud Backup,” are in reality, the worst contributors to global warming since incense was invented and allowed to burn all day long.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the RiD Iniative’s goal is to help consumers and creators — especially high-end users such as lawyers, paralegals, government budget office workers, ethics violation researchers, spray tan vendors, digital-image, digital-video, and digital-music creators and distributors — to become more responsible cyber-citizens and help slow down global warming.

To qualify for recycling, all items must be deemed important and vital. Most valuable are files that are literally life and death, such as medical information, litigation smoking guns (which are among the worst polluters), birth photography, wedding photography, divorce photography, military events, grip-and-grin photos, photos of photographers making photos, all Instagram photos, any successful weight-loss documentation, student evaluations, High-Resolution audio files, and of course, all files indicating that money or funds are owed.

Especially desirable are medical test results, orders from doctors, and treatment options. None of this vastly overused data is necessary, since insurance companies almost always deny lifesaving treatment to their subscribers, no matter the cost. In this belief, we join the Sierra Club in their campaign to have Cats, preferably tabbies, start performing CAT Scans, in place of costly and difficult to operate electronic CT and MRI scanners, that have a large carbon footprint. 

Important files should be contained in sustainable packaging such as Acrobat PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files. Password files and financial information files should be uploaded to a special site (, and for visual creators, Photoshop files; TIFF, PNG, and JPEG files are also acceptable. (At present, the program can’t accept GIFs, due to legacy pronunciation issues.) 

As before, EFF hopes to recycle unused pixels from art school MFA candidates around the world, which the EFF Data Analysis Board considers cumulatively to be one of the world’s largest stockpiles of useless high-resolution imagery, topped only by arts educators.

Once those vital and life-changing documents, spreadsheets, non-disclosure agreements, and intimate secrets are uploaded to the EFF site, the site will confirm safe delivery by deleting the source files and all backups, with the exception of JBOD backup devices, which is still in development, as they circumvent common sense, and actually work.

Project manager Jonathan Scull stated that the new program will be both convenient and environmentally responsible. “I mean, the last thing we want is for people to hold on to important files, self-important vanity press novels, legal agreements, DNA testing, academic integrity reports, and other toxic data. By deleting that data, cyber-citizens avoid creating yet another run on hard drives. Heck, we don’t even have a means of estimating what’s clogging up the ‘cloud’ right now, but we do know it’s expanding exponentially,” Scull asserts. “I mean, it's a total bummer. People are worried — and rightly so — about the amount of energy it takes to preserve such data. Multiply that about a trillion and you’ve got a ballpark idea of the crisis in document and file pollution. I mean, dude, do we really need anymore Grateful Dead live recordings?”

Adam SohmerDirector of the RiD 2021 Collection Location Initiatives (CLI),  explained that “Each year, trillions of seemingly important data files are causing people stress and anxiety. Remember our slogans, “Declutter your Digital Life” “Redistribute your Digital Wealth” “Give to Those in Need of Important Data'', this is larger than yourself, it’s our goal to delete and recycle unneeded data clogging computers and data farms throughout the globe, since reducing storage requirements will reduce energy usage, and help the planet heal. …”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows. By deleting important documents, citizens learn that our self-important files really don't matter, and deleting them without the fear that decreasing their carbon footprint might force government control thereof.” 

For more information on the Electronic Frontier (EFF) Foundation’s “Reduce Important Data” Recycling Initiative for 2021 visit:

Nancy Burlan & Harris Fogel, with editorial guidance from A.D. Coleman & Frank Schramm, Posted April 1, 2021

For more information on the Electronic Frontier (EFF) Foundations Pixel & Data-Recycling Initiatives visit: