Friday, September 5, 2008

The Yellow Pages Go Green

Do you ever use the phonebooks that you receive every year? I am talking about the big, Sears catalog sized phone books that show up at your door. In the old days (before the Internet) looking phone numbers up in a phonebook was the only way to find phone numbers. With todays technology, almost no one ever uses these phone books and they generally ended up getting thrown away.

A movement has been started to stop the unwanted publication of phone books. is an organization that is working to educate consumers and promote the green movement to eliminate the unsolicited delivery of Yellow and White Pages books. The movement does not want to stop the use of the books - if someone wants one they can call and order one.

Started by a college student who was renting a house in Liberty, Missouri, he noticed that many telephone books were delivered to the house every year. After speaking to his neighbors he found out that all of them just threw the books away. What a waste of resources! For a college student, the books were outdated because he could find the same information on the Internet, but he realized that some people may still use them. If he just figure out a way to get the books deliver to the people who really wanted them, a huge amount of resources could be saved every year. The best way to do this was to mimic the National No-Call Directory. Other movements to eliminate junk mail have (and are) working just great when people register at sites like

Now for the hard facts. According to the website, over 500 million phone books are printed every year. To produce 500 million books:

19 million trees are harvested
1.6 billion pounds of paper are used
7.2 million barrels of oil are used to process the books (this does not included the fuel used to deliver the books to your doorstep)

Additionally, if all these books were thrown away (instead of recycled), they would take up 268,000 cubic yards in landfills.

These numbers are shocking when you first see them. Why produce something that no one uses when it will just get thrown away? Why use valuable resources that are in short supply?

Please think about whether you really need (and will use) a phone book. If you do not need one, visit and sign up to remove your home or office from the telephone directory mailing list.

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