Sending one less email a day could help reduce the carbon footprint of your inbox

Sending one less email a day could help reduce the carbon footprint of your inbox
Text sizeAaAa

If everyone in the UK sent one less email each day it would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year according to energy supplier, OVO.

We've all found ourselves trapped in a pointless email chain of thank yous at some point. Too polite to not send that two word message, over 64 million unnecessary emails are sent by Brits each day. Almost three quarters of people in the UK were completely unaware that these millions of messages could be increasing the carbon footprint of their inbox according to research commissioned by the supplier.

Is your email necessary? Reducing the number of unneeded messages you send could help reduce your carbon footprintOVO

"Whilst the carbon footprint of an email isn't huge," said Mike Berners-Lee, greenhouse gas researcher and writer, "it's a great illustration of the broader principle that cutting out the waste in our lives is good for our wellbeing and good for the environment."

According to Berners Lee's book, The Carbon Footprint of Everything, a normal email has a footprint equivalent to 0.3 g of CO2 emissions. This can rise to 50g, however, with the addition of a large attachment. This figure looks at everything from the power in data centres to the computers that send, filter and read the messages.

Read More | Can you make a day without your smartphone?

Cutting down on the number of unnecessary emails you send is one way to reduce the CO2 emitted by your emails but the spam clogging up your inbox could also be a source of emissions. Over half of all email traffic is considered spam say figures from Statista. With 239.6 billion messages sent around the world, that's a lot of spam.

The number of emails sent each year only increases with many too short to be needed.

OVO has created a tool which will notify you if it thinks your email is not needed and prompt you to be more thoughtful with what you send. The " Carbon Capper" Chrome extension looks at word count and notifies you if you go to send anything under four words. "We want to show people how every action has a carbon impact, even a simple email," explained Katie Russell, Head of Data and Analytics at the company, "we need to change our behaviour at the entry level, and help people make a start with the easy first steps."

You can download the extension from the Chrome web store here and check whether you could cut down on your unnecessary carbon creating emails.

Most viewed