Danielle

Co-Founder of Squarecat.io & LeaveMeAlone.app | Indie Dev 👩‍🎤 Dog Lover 🐶 Nomad 🎒

Every Day Unwanted emails dump 28,397 tonnes of CO₂ into the Atmosphere

Our mission at Leave Me Alone is to help you to take back control of your inboxes by getting rid of unwanted spam. We bring calm and control back into your digital life and give you more time for the things you love.
When we heard about the world’s first hackathon to help fix the climate we immediately started researching what we could do to help. We have tried to build a product that helps people, but we wanted to see if we could help our planet too!
We immediately discovered that emails have a significant carbon footprint. In fact, 246 billion emails dump 986,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every day. [1]
Leave Me Alone users are already reducing their carbon footprint by unsubscribing from unwanted emails. So we decided to build a new feature to highlight the impact of this on the planet and help people see how much they could reduce their carbon footprint by from unsubscribing.
Read on to learn more about how emails can contribute to carbon emissions or jump straight in and check out how to save the planet by unsubscribing!

How do emails contribute to carbon emissions?

A regular email produces 4 grams of CO₂ on average [2]. Long messages and emails with attachments produce up to 12 times more. Sound like a lot? Well lets explore how this is calculated.
The carbon impact of all things digital is generally attributed to the daily operations of the gigantic data centers that store almost everything on the internet. These data centers consume huge amounts of electricity storing, transferring, processing, and analyzing all this data. Plus to keep everything cool and running efficiently requires a lot of water.
Even to send a single email there exist thousands of data-centers around the world for every step of the journey from the sender’s inbox to yours.
And don't forget the the greenhouse gases and carbon emissions that were produces when the data center equipment was manufactured!

How can unsubscribing help?

Unsubscribing is not just good for the soul, it is good for the planet too! 75% of emails are never even opened [3] and sending and receiving them contributes to carbon emissions.
By opting out of mailing lists you don’t want you can stop the email from being sent unnecessarily. This helps to reduce your carbon footprint, and also the carbon footprint of the person or company sending the email.
From our anonymous usage data of nearly 10,000,000 analyzed emails [4] we know that around 8% of our users' inboxes are subscriptions and 36% of those are unwanted. That means up to 28,397 tonnes of carbon is emitted the atmosphere every single day for emails people do not want and do not read. That is the same as producing nearly 3 billion plastic bags [5] or almost 1 million people taking flights from London to Paris! [6]
Here are the raw numbers based on worldwide usage:
246.5 billion emails sent every day19.72 billion are subscriptions (8% of 246.5B)7.1 billion are unwanted (36% of 19.72B)28,397 tonnes of carbon produced daily (7.1b x 4g for 1 email)2,839,680,000 plastic bags (28,397 tonnes / 10g for 1 plastic bag)946,560 people flying from London-Paris (28,397 tonnes / 0.03 tonnes for 1 person flying)
Unsubscribing also helps the sender improve their mailing list reputation by no longer sending emails to people who are not interested, which in turn helps other Leave Me Alone users!

Estimate the carbon footprint of your inbox

You can use our carbon footprint estimator to see how much you can reduce your carbon footprint by. 4 grams of carbon per email doesn’t sound like a lot, so we included the environmental impact of other activities like using plastic bags, drinking coffee, and driving a car for comparison.

Donate at the checkout to plant a tree

Unsubscribing is a fantastic way to clean out your inbox and reduce your carbon footprint but we wanted to do even more. When purchasing credits to unsubscribe you can now add a $1 donation to plant a tree! 🌳
Trees are incredibly important in our fight against carbon emissions and climate change. Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere. One tree can filter up to 16kg of carbon out of the atmosphere by in just a single year [7].
We have partnered with One Tree Planted who plant trees all over the world. We chose One Tree Planted because they have a super simple pricing model; one dollar plants one tree. We wanted our customers donations to be easily measurable - no matter the size of your inbox you know your donation is equal to one tree being planted in the world.
We started our climate change campaign off by planting one tree, and we will plant an additional one for every 10 our customers do! We have already had several donations which makes us super happy. You can see how many trees we have planted, and how much carbon has been saved by unsubscribing on our open page.
Every little helps and we are really excited to see how much carbon we can save by helping our customers unsubscribe!
Thank you for reading. If you want to know more or just want to chat you can find us on Twitter or send us an email hello@leavemealone.app.
Header image by Unsplash.
Originally published at blog.leavemealone.app on Aug 26, 2019

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