An email, it pollutes, even once deleted!

An email, çhas polluted, even once deleted!

The data that we accumulate on our electronic devices must be stored in mega servers that consume astronomical amounts of energy.

In our ordinary modern lives, many of our habits profusely pollute the environment without us even realizing it. Surprisingly, our online habits have a gigantic weight in our greenhouse gas emissions globally. Indeed, e-mails would pollute just as much as air transport in the world. The following statistics are chilling, but they may help you make better choices every day.

1-A year of receiving emails adds an average of 300 pounds to an individual's carbon footprint , which represents a journey of 320 km by car. For what? Because all emails, sent, or even saved in the cloud must be stored in data centers that require energy to operate and be cooled.

2- The digital sector is responsible for approximately 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to the impact of air transport as a whole.

3- One hour of videoconferencing alone could emit between 150 g and 1 kg of CO2.

4- An individual watching Netflix 10 hours a week will generate annual impacts equivalent to traveling nearly 200 km by car. And Netflix had over 220 million subscribers in 2022.

5-The resource extraction and transformation stages alone would be responsible for almost 80% of the total quantity of greenhouse gases generated by the life cycle of an electronic device, not counting the quantity of water required, which would be approximately 85 bathtubs, for a single smart phone.

6- According to Équiterre data, “the total resources needed to produce an electronic device is 50 to 350 times greater than its mass.”  

7- The carbon footprint of an email without an attachment would be around 4g of CO2 while it can reach 126g with a large attachment.  

8 – According to a study carried out in 2021, turning off the camera during a videoconference reduces its environmental impact by 96%.

9-Emails, but also the photos stored in our cell phones and websites leave them also a carbon footprint. For what? Because from producing hardware to powering servers 24/7 to backing up all that data, the tech world uses a lot of energy.


  1. Berners-Lee, 2020

3. Obringer et al., 2021

  1. Stewart, 2021
  2. Boisclair, 2022
  3. Boisclair, 2022< /li>
  4. Berners-Lee, 2020

8 . Obringer et al., 2021

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