Digital Spring Cleaning

Reduce your digital carbon footprint

A cleaner inbox for a cleaner planet

Did you know that digital technologies generate up to 4% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide? These emissions are caused by the production, distribution, charging, end of life, and general utilization of ICTs. That number could double by 2025, but it doesn’t have to. 

As part of an annual Earth Day campaign, the Broadband Commission is encouraging digital technology users to be mindful of their use of digital tools to lighten their carbon footprints. The sending of emails has environmental implications and can be equated to carbon emissions: 0.3 grams of CO2 for a spam email, 4g for a regular email, and 50g for an email with a photo attached. In addition to which, the storage of data requires an immense amount of electricity. Data is stored in “server farms” which account for 2% of global electricity demand themselves.

We have outlined a few simple steps to help users change their digital habits and clean their inboxes to do their part in reducing GHG emissions associated with ICTs. Our objective is to engage with Commissioners and the global community to delete over 1 million emails during the month of April, and educate them on how to minimize their future digital impact from emails.

Step 1
Review your mailbox

Start your digital spring cleaning by revising your inbox.
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists, such as newsletters, marketing emails, and subscriptions.
  • Clear your spam, junk, and trash folders, and set up rules or filters to delete these emails on a regular basis. 
  • Delete obsolete, like outdated notifications and completed tasks. Consider organizing your emails in folders, so you can easily identify unnecessary emails. 

Step 2
Minimize your future emails

Minimize your future emails by improving your habits and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Send fewer emails. For example, use “thank you in advance” instead of sending “thank you” emails.
  • Trim the recipient list, include only people who truly need to be on the email thread.
  • Avoid large attachments whenever possible. Use cloud storage links and share essential documents only.
  • Compress when possible: For large documents you must attach, use compression tools to minimize file size without compromising quality 

Share your impact: How many emails did you delete?

Deleting emails is just a small step in reducing emissions, but every action matters. Let us know how many emails you deleted as part of your Digital Spring Cleaning!

Join us on our journey towards a cleaner, greener digital future!

Explore our educational resources, social media collateral and more on the environmental effects of digital practices.