Phone Book Recycling

Now that a majority of people have switched to using free online resources to search for everything, telephone books have become obsolete, annoying, and wasteful.

Did you know:

  • Telephone books generated 840,000 tons of paper waste in 2008. Only 20% of that was recycled last year, meaning 660,000 tons was discarded in the landfill  (source:  Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2007 Facts and Figures. U.S EPA.)
  • The production and disposal of these phone books generates 3,564,574 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is the equivalent of approximately 770 thousand extra passenger cars on the road every year.
  • In recent years, the number of phone books delivered to households and businesses has increased, with two or more competing companies’ now publishing and distributing books in similar or overlapping geographic areas.
  • On average, only 40% of the fiber used to produce telephone books comes from post-consumer recycled material.

There have been numerous legislation in different states, but none have been passed by the state legislature so far.

What You Can Do:

1) Urge your state legislature to support phone book opt-in programs, which would prohibit any person or entity from distributing “white pages” telephone listing directories to residents, except upon the request of the resident. There are currently two states with pending Phone book legislation:

  • California SB 920
  • Minnesota HF 170

2) Contact your service provider (to opt out).

3) Recycle your phone books

Go Green! Save our Planet!

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