How Streaming YouTube and Having 1000 Unread Emails Increases Your Digital Carbon Footprint – and 5 Tips on Reducing Carbon

Tech | |

Here at Ballyhoo, we’re serious about helping the planet. Not only is our hosting Green Certified, but we are also members of Ecologi – planting trees and funding the world’s best carbon offsetting solutions. 

And whilst we all know that turning the tap off when brushing our teeth and walking to work can help reduce our carbon footprint, did you know that reducing your YouTube video intake and deleting emails can help too? Whilst the Internet’s data is seemingly invisible, it is processed and stored in data centres all over the world, powered 24/7 and contributing to our carbon footprints. 

Here are a few innovative ways that we can all reduce our carbon footprint with some simple digital swaps.

Innovative Ways To Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint

Reduce Your Streaming

Video streaming causes 75% of global data traffic, and is responsible for over 300 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every single year. “How does this create carbon?” we hear you ask. Production of devices, Internet network energy consumption, running data centres and servers, and the energy consumption of the device during streaming itself all contribute to carbon emissions. 

Instead, download videos, watch them at a lower resolution, or play songs as audio files rather than watching them. Also, reducing your daily watching time is a great way to reduce carbon emissions, and also helps your own mental wellbeing too.

Lower Your Screen Brightness

Not only does lowering your brightness help with eye strain, but dimming monitors to 70% can save up to 20% of the energy that it uses. Less electricity = less energy, which is a win-win for the planet (and your energy costs!).

Empty Your Email Inbox Regularly 

Emails are stored in the cloud, which requires lots of electricity – most of which is generated by fossil fuels. Whilst emails no longer contribute to paper pollution, they still contribute to air pollution. In general, an email may contribute to 0.3g of CO2. If you have 500 unread/junk emails, this leads to 150g of extra carbon. Per person worldwide. Scary. So next time you’re twiddling your thumbs and have a spare 20 seconds – delete all the emails in your spam box and in your deleted email box, and unsubscribe from emails or newsletters that you don’t intend on reading.

Use Devices Longer

The average lifespan of a smartphone is just 3 years. Do you really need the newest smartphone on the market? Chances are that you don’t – we have become so used to our contracts ending and getting new phones, that it doesn’t even cross our minds. Next time your contract ends, why not keep the device and opt for a sim-only contract instead? It’ll save you money too!

Use Ecosia instead of Google

How many Google searches do you perform every day? Think about switching to Ecosia – for every search made on the platform, Ecosia plants a tree. This is effectively planting trees for free, but if you need more encouragement, here’s 50 reasons to use Ecosia.

When we collectively produce more carbon than the planet can absorb, the planet suffers and the excess CO2 contributes to climate change. Although these tips may not fight climate change alone, they are a place to start and also help your mental wellbeing in the process.  If we all come together to do what we can, hopefully we can give the planet the love it deserves (and persuade other larger companies to do the same).

Want to work with a company that is striving to reduce carbon emissions on the planet? Talk to us today to see how we can help your business.

Headshot of Rebecca young new team member


Rebecca helps to keep the team organised and supports all of our clients with day to day activities and content. She also runs all of Ballyhoo's internal marketing.