Clean Your Inbox, Save the Planet
Did you know that each outdated email in your inbox consumes energy? Decluttering your inbox is a simple and effective approach to save electricity and minimize your carbon footprint.
It’s tough to picture our existence without e-mail in this day and age. But how frequently do we think about how these virtual messages affect the environment? Digital messages appear to conserve resources at first look. Unlike traditional letters, no paper or stamps are required, and no packaging or transportation is required. Many of us believe that utilizing email only necessitates the consumption of electricity to power our computers. When it comes to sending and storing data, it’s easy to overlook the invisible energy usage required in running the network (and maintaining the complete physical infrastructure behind it).
Every email in every inbox throughout the world is saved on a server. The massive amount of data necessitates massive server farms — massive data centers with millions of machines that store and transport data. These servers consume tremendous quantities of electricity and require countless litres of water or air conditioning systems to keep cool 24 hours a day. The more messages we send, receive, and store, the more servers are required, resulting in increased energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Every spam email, according to carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee (brother of Tim Berners-Lee, the “creator of the world wide web”), emits an estimated 0.3 grams of CO2 into the environment, even if we don’t open it. An email with a lot of text and an attachment can add up to 50 grams to your weight. The energy necessary to operate computers, access the internet, and the entire physical system and infrastructure underpinning it all, including the storing and transportation of information via data centres, contributes to these carbon emissions. In 2019, spam communications accounted for 54.68 percent of all emails sent globally (that’s a lot of emissions reduction potential with something as simple as an effective spam filter!). However, Berners-Lee did these calculations ten years ago, so the true impact may be far greater.
According to more current figures by energy supply company Ovo Energy, if every email user in the UK wrote one less useless email per day, CO2 emissions would be reduced by 16,433 tonnes per year – the equivalent of 81,152 flights between London and Madrid!
It’s well worth your time to undertake an eco-friendly digital detox, which includes avoiding sending needless emails, limiting the amount of spam you receive, and cleaning out your inbox on a regular basis.
Here are a few healthy e-mail habits to help you keep your inbox clean and environmentally friendly.
Search and delete: Scan your inbox once a month for outdated, useless e-mails to remove. Pay special attention to people who have large attachments.
Empty the trash: Regularly empty your Junk E-mail folder. (Some e-mail applications automatically do this; check yours’ options and choose a shorter storage duration if necessary.)
Manage your newsletter subscriptions: If you receive newsletters, consider which ones you actually need or enjoy reading. Do the majority of them remain unopened in your inbox? It could be time to unsubscribe from some of them in that case. Depending on which mail program you’re using, this handy guide will show you the quickest and most effective way to do it.
Turn off social media notifications: If you receive notifications from social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, turn them off unless you absolutely need them. The majority of the time, they simply repeat information you can get on the network’s website or app.
Choose a green e-mail provider: Posteo.de, Mailbox.org, Runbox, and Tutanota, to mention a few, are currently among the many email services that run entirely on green electricity. They also offer an added benefit: they are ad-free, which means they preserve users’ privacy by neither tracking them online or selling their data to other parties. You might also look at the Info Detox Kit if you’re concerned about protecting your personal data online in general.
Sending and receiving electronic messages in an environmentally responsible manner is clearly insufficient to halt climate change. Unnecessary CO2 emissions can readily be prevented with a few cautious, thoughtful measures.