Save the Earth; Filter Junk Mail?

by Erin on April 28th, 2009 in Industry and Security News.

We’ve all heard of the basic ways that we can each do our part to help the environment: plant trees, use less electricity, recycle.  According to a new study, we may soon be adding something not quite so mundane to that list: use a spam filter.

Spam takes a toll on your patience, your time, and even on your security. And now, according to the industry study, “The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam”, it seems that spam is actually damaging on a much larger perspective; it’s polluting the planet by contributing to green house gas emissions.

According to BBC News, the report, issued by ICF International and McAfee, found that:

  • Each year, 62 trillion spam messages are sent worldwide.
  • Spam produces more than 33 billion kWh per year (enough to power over 2 million homes).
  • Over the course of a year, spam emits 17 million tons of CO2
  • The average business user produces over 130 kg of CO2 each year. 22% of that is related to spam.
  • Spam filtering would reduce spam by 75%, which is about equal to taking 2.3 million cars off the road.

There’s lots of commentary out there on the Web, generated from this study, but for the facts on the findings, take a look at the full BBC News report.