When receiving an e-mail, it is already a classic that at the bottom there is an environmental legend such as "think before printing this mail, the consumption of paper causes the massive felling of trees" In other cases, the e-mails of services suggest opt for online invoices, even, giving you some extra benefits.
But have you ever wondered how much energy is consumed to send an e-mail and if it is polluting?
In France, they realized that sending emails generates pollution and large companies have been asked to limit the use of emails, especially mass mailing of advertising campaigns. The purpose: to save energy.
In figures, more than 250,000 million emails are sent every day. Of that amount, about 80% is spam that ends up in the "junk mail" tray and another that we never open and we delete it in the trash.
How much does an email contaminate?
The million dollar question is how much energy is used every time we send an email. It is difficult to quantify because it is not something palpable like a letter in which you can evaluate the paper, stamping, ink, etc.
But it is known that behind each sending of an e-mail there is a whole infrastructure that, even if you don't see it, exists. Writing a message, sending it and storing it entails a significant consumption of resources that we do not usually see.
To make it a little more visible, a group of researchers have studied the amount of greenhouse gas (CO2) produced each time we send an email to measure its impact on the environment.
The results estimated that a standard email has an impact of 4 grams of CO2 and an email with an attachment can reach 50 grams. But is this a lot or a little? For you to see it better, according to the expert Mike Berners-Lee, the use of e-mail during a period of one year can generate 136 kilos of CO2, or what is the same, travel 322 kilometers by car. Surely much more than you thought.
France's Agency for the Environment and Energy Control is more pessimistic. Calculate the CO2 emissions of an email between two individuals at 19 grams. With 20 emails, it would consume as much energy as traveling a 1,000 km trip.
If we transfer these estimates to the business sphere, the figures skyrocket. For example, in 2010 130 million tons of CO2 were generated, an amount that could reach 340 million in 2020 according to experts.
So the next shipment think twice ... maybe a small contribution is to use plain text and when you need to send images, do it in low resolution.
And it's not just the sending of emails that generates pollution, the general use of the internet also has its environmental costs.