How to Stop Delivery of Unwanted Phone Books

When I arrived home today, an evil surprise was waiting for me – a yellow plastic bag with a Denver metro area telephone directory inside. Since I just recycled another vendor’s unwanted phone book two weeks ago, I was not especially tickled to receive this book. I keep the Dex white and yellow pages in my office and use them occasionally, but I generally go online to look up telephone numbers, don’t you? Besides, how many phone books can one household use?

After visiting this particular directory publisher’s website and opting out of future deliveries, I discovered a link to a wonderful one-stop website to easily deal with this challenge. You can opt out of any U.S. publishers’ yellow pages directories by visiting YellowPagesOptOut.com. Enter your zip code and you’ll be given a list of the companies that publish books in your area plus directions for opting out of any directories you don’t want to receive. In Canada, visit the Yellow Pages Group for opt-out directions.

It’s great that the companies collectively provide a way for consumers to specify their preferences, but unfortunately many people don’t know about this service. Think of all the gazillions of unused directories that end up in landfills and recycling centers each year. According to BanThePhoneBook.org, up to 5 million trees are cut down each year to create the white pages phone book. The directory publishers only utilize 40%  recycled materials when they print new editions, so the environmental impact of all these companies printing unwanted phone books is truly staggering. The good news is that we can really make a difference by spreading the word, especially since most of these opt-out programs are permanent.

How You Can Help

Here’s a simple link you can ‘tweet’ or use for a Facebook update:

#GreenerYellowPages – How to stop delivery of unwanted phone books: http://su.pr/1gMKIr

If you’re a blogger, I created this little banner that you can post on your blog to take readers to these instructions so they can opt out. Just copy and paste this HTML code into the desired location on your blog or website:

Happy Simple Living

Are you receiving multiple editions of phone directories you don’t want or use? I’d love to hear your comments and experiences, and if you blog or tweet about this issue please let me know.

P.S. Plastic and paper can’t be combined during the recycling process, so do your recycling center a favor and take the book out of its plastic bag before putting it in the bin.

Also, if you find magnets glued to your phone directory don’t forget to remove those before recycling the book. Want to repurpose the magnets? Our friends at A Girl and a Gluegun,  Baby Brainstorm and AHC Arts & Crafts have some very creative, crafty ideas.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of six books about home design and food. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

10 comments to How to Stop Delivery of Unwanted Phone Books

  • Thanks for this! Retweeted on Twitter too.

  • I really, really, really don’t like getting the white pages. I use them, roughly, about never.

  • eliza_cross

    You’re right, Kevin. I can’t remember the last time I used the white pages. I read today that the average person receives 13 pounds of telephone books every year. Insane!

  • Hi Eliza, thank you for this post!!! Here is the link to do the same “opt out” in Canada.
    http://delivery.ypg.com/delivery//

    Click Customize Delivery and then select the option that says you don’t want Any!! I am really enjoying your blog, thank you!!
    Jenn

  • This is fantastic I shared this on all my social networks and posted on my sidebar.
    Diane Balch recently posted..Simply Healthy: The Mediterranean Diet

  • absoutely… there is no need to get any ‘unwanted’ stuff, the question needs to be asked first before the books get ‘dumped’ first on the door step and then sadly ‘dumped’ into recycle. communication is the key to the society working together for a more self caring nation. the human being the most desructive creature living and not earth caring…

  • Hey there! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the good work!
    Mahek Sabharwal recently posted..Mahek Sabharwal

  • Dorel

    Thank you for the info. It’s very helpful. I’ve been looking for a way to stop them from delivering the useless book for a while now.
    BTW: What do you do if you opt out and they still deliver the book? They don’t want to stop the delivery because the more books they deliver the more they can charge the advertisers. They want to show their advertisers that they have a large circulation and they just ignore the opt out request. How do we stop them?

  • Joe

    I opted out last year. I found one on the stoop this morning. I called the 800-number for the publisher (800-888-8448) and a fella took a whole bunch of info, apologized for the inconvenience, and promised to forward my complaint to the distribution manager for my area. I also found an email address (optout@supermedia.com) that I’ve sent a grumpy-gram to. I’ve threatened to file a complaint of trespass and littering, but have little faith that that would bear any fruit. I wonder if anyone knows what governmental entity is responsible for handling such matters?

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