Sending more emails than you should many not only be pointless but also bad for the environment, according to a new study focused in the UK, which showed the high carbon footprint emails can have.
OVO Energy, England’s leading energy supply company, commissioned a study and used the UK as a case study. Among the results, the study showed that Brits send more than 64 million unnecessary emails every day, which contributes to 23,475 tons of carbon a year to its footprint.
If every adult in the UK sent one fewer “thank you” email a day it would allow saving more than 16,433 tons of carbon a year. This is equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.
Among the most “unnecessary” emails, the report included those that say “Thank you,” “Thanks,” “Have a good weekend,” “Received,” “Appreciated,” “Have a good evening,” “Did you get/see this,” “Cheers,” “You too,” and “LOL,” according to the study.
The results also showed that 71% of the Brits wouldn’t mind not receiving a “thank you” email “if they knew it was for the benefit of the environment and helping to combat the climate crisis.”Also, 87% said “would be happy to reduce their email traffic to help support the same cause,” according to the study.
Mike Berners-Lee, a professor at Lancaster University in Lancashire, England and one of the study authors, said that while the carbon footprint is not highly significant “it’s a great illustration of the broader principle that cutting the waste out of our lives is good for our wellbeing and good for the environment.”
“Every time we take a small step towards changing our behavior, be that sending fewer emails or carrying a reusable coffee cup, we need to treat it as a reminder to ourselves and others that we care even more about the really big carbon decisions,” Berners-Lee said.
This is not the first time a study looks at the environmental footprint of emails. Research by McAfee in 2010 showed that 78% of all incoming emails are spam. Around 62 trillion spam messages are sent every year, requiring the use of 33 illion kilowatt-hours (KWh) of electricity and causing around 20 million tonnes of CO2e per year.