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:
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.