How many emails do you have in your inbox right now as you read this? How many of those emails are spam? How many emails do you probably not read? How many mailing lists have you been unnecessarily copied in on that you never asked to join?
All of these emails create a carbon footprint. read or unread; useful, interesting, spam; cached, archived, spam; it all contributes to the 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide every year.
1. “Sending even a short email is estimated to add about four grams (0.1 ounces) of carbon dioxide equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere.
2. “According to Mike Berners-Lee, every spam message—even if we don’t open it -about 0.3 grams of CO2 is released into the atmosphere. An email with a lot of text and attachments can weigh up to 50 grams.
3. “According to McAfee, 78% of all incoming email is spam.
4. Globally, 306 billion emails were sent every day in 2020. (This should increase to 333.2 billion in 2022).
So, what can you do to help reduce this?
Emails are better than letters; morse code is a thing of the past… We’re not saying it’s time to stop using email but it’s time to use it more efficiently!
(i) Unsubscribe. I know it’s tempting to hit delete, but deep down you know it’s not the end. Taking the extra time to unsubscribe not only reduces your inbox, but also reduces your carbon footprint… everyone wins!
(ii) Don’t send unnecessary emails or copies. Wait until you have all the information. Avoid sending many short emails. It can also make you more productive. Stop and think ahead Cc. Ask yourself, do they really need to see this email?
(iii) Remove animations, high-resolution images or other slow email signatures. Many email interfaces do not load these elements correctly. in slower browsers or areas with slow internet speeds, or if the signature itself is poorly optimized, they may not load at all. You can use this option to create a more interesting and memorable email signature.
(iv) Cloud attachments: Emails with attachments generate significantly more carbon emissions (see 2.). Using cloud services, you can send a link instead. This can be useful for colleagues who work together. For more information on cloud computing and sustainable websites, contact us.
5. “80% of this spam-related electricity is spent reading and deleting spam and searching spam folders to dig up genuine emails that accidentally ended up there. Spam filters themselves account for 16 percent.”
6. Assuming 60.5 spam emails, 30.25 regular email and 30.25 email with attachments, 121 incoming emails, equal 1.625 kg of CO2e.
Here’s the thing: Can you benefit the environment by using your email more effectively? Yes. Should you? Yes, not only the environmental benefits; you can increase productivity and work more efficiently.
As an individual, the significance of your efforts for the good of the planet lies more in how you influence the collective consciousness than in the practical effects of reducing emissions. If you implement everything you can do for the planet, it can lead to a reduction of 3 tons of emissions. This is a significant amount. But as a percentage of the 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted worldwide each year, it may not seem like it.
But if you change the things you buy and the way you work, you can encourage someone else to do the same and your actions to someone else. And those three tons can become a million tons and then a billion tons.
Thinking about going green on your next website or project? Contact us to discuss how we can help you reduce your online carbon footprint through sustainable web design and green hosting.