A telecommunications company organised “E-Cleaning Days” to remind internet users that their old e-mails consume energy. Decluttering your inbox is a quick and easy way to reduce your electricity consumption.
In this day and age, it is difficult to imagine our lives without e-mail. Online correspondence is quick and convenient, and most of us have multiple inboxes which we use for professional and private purposes. But how often do we consider the environmental impact of these virtual messages? Since e-mails are immaterial, it is easy to forget that they have real effects on our planet. E-mail providers store our messages on servers, which consume energy 24 hours a day. The more messages, the more servers.
Orange, a French telecommunications corporation, organised a campaign to raise awareness on the environmental impact of e-mail storage: E-Cleaning Days. The campaign took place from November 16 to December 11 and thus partly overlapped with the UN climate conference in Paris. The message was simple: “Less e-mails stored, less energy wasted.”
A study by ICF International and McAfee reveals that storing 1GB of e-mail consumes 32.1 kWh per year. According to Orange, if every single person in France deleted 50 emails, the energy savings would be equivalent to turning the Eiffel tower’s lights off for 42 years, or to New York City not consuming any electricity for 4 hours. 50 e-mails is nothing compared to the hundreds and hundreds of unnecessary messages that most people accumulate in their lifetime.
Orange’s E-Cleaning Days officially ended a few days ago, but its message remains relevant. Why not decide to regularly declutter your inbox as a New Year’s resolution?
Here are a few good e-mail habits that will help you keep your inbox clean and eco-friendly.
- Search and destroy: Once a month, scan your inbox for old, unnecessary e-mails that you can delete. Pay particular attention to those with bulky attachments.
- Take out the trash: Empty your Junk E-mail folder regularly. (Some e-mail programs do this automatically.)
- Manage your subscriptions: If you are subscribed to newsletters, reassess which ones you really need/enjoy reading. Do most of them simply sit unopened in your inbox? In that case, it might be time to unsubscribe from some of them.
- Social media: If you receive notification e-mails from social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, deactivate them unless you really need them. Most of the time, they just duplicate information you already receive directly through the network’s website or app.