Have you ever wondered what the easiest way to fight climate change is? Well, the answer lies in your mailbox. The emails stored in your mail box’s spam folder add to your carbon footprint.
In 2019, approximately 107 billion spam emails were sent and received per day, according to The Good Planet. If everyone deleted just ten of those emails, it would save 1,725,00 gigabytes of storage space and 55.2 million kilowatts of electricity.
Every email we send takes electricity to view it, and the network connection uses electricity to deliver the email. Each system will require some electricity to temporarily store the email before passing it on as it travels across the internet. Even still, sending an email requires just around 1.7 per cent of the energy it takes to transmit a physical letter — but we send a lot more emails!
This electricity is accountable for 4 g of CO2 emissions for a typical email. A photo attachment requires more storage and takes longer to send, resulting in a carbon footprint of 50 g on average.
Sending 65 emails is about the same as driving 1 km in a car. The average person in the industrialized world emits 136 kg of CO2 per year as a result of the emails they send and receive. This is the equivalent of driving an extra 320 km in a car. Globally, email usage produces the same amount of CO2 as an additional seven million cars on the road.
Now sending emails themselves is not the only issue. Remember, they also take up vast amounts of data stored on our drives or the cloud. Unnecessary storage of this data piles up to create emissions on a global scale. What can we do?
Well, contrary to what’s usually said, unsubscribe (to the useless promotion and marketing emails or notifications we don’t need) and do not share (unnecessary data or large files over emails)