Let’s work together to:
- Reduce the hundreds of thousands of tons of phone books in landfills
- Make it easy for consumers to choose to receive their phone books
- Help consumers connect to their local recycling resources
An enormous amount of waste is created every year by companies that print Yellow Pages and other phone directories. A recent survey found that only three out of 10 people who received a phone book in the previous year said they actually used it. With this extremely low usage rate, high cost of production and impact on the environment, it’s time to give everyone the power to decide if they want to continue to receive the books.
Every year, publishers distribute nearly 500 million phone directories. This requires 1.6 billion pounds of paper, 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and more than seven million barrels of oil to produce. These numbers don’t even take into account the costs of recycling and waste caused by these phone directories, which some experts believe exceeds $60 million annually in the U.S. This $60 million is paid by you, the taxpayers, not the Yellow Pages companies.
A step in the right direction. A study in Oregon shows that for every household in the state, four phone directories were printed. This practice is not even an irregularity, and was one of the driving forces that caused Seattle to ban the Yellow Pages back in 2011. While this ban was later overturned in court, it brought awareness to the issue and began putting pressure on the Yellow Pages industry. One of the outcomes of this pressure is www.YellowPagesOptOut.com, a site that allows you to opt-out of some or all phone directory deliveries. While this is a step in the right direction, it is not enough.
Even with the new opt-out site, hundreds of millions of unwanted phone directories are still being delivered every year. The City of San Francisco alone estimates that its unwanted directories create around seven million pounds of waste annually. Why are we allowing these directories to continue to be delivered? What can we do about it?
An easy answer. Individuals who would like to have a phone directory delivered simply need to opt-in, just as they would elect to sign up to receive a newsletter or be added to a mailing list. This will significantly reduce recycling and waste costs, save everyone money, and ease the environmental impacts.
With the support of phone directory publishers, we can make this happen. If you’re a consumer, take action by opting out of Yellow Pages delivery. If you’re a publisher, explore your digital options for marketing your directory and join us in going Green for Good.