March
3 - 2010

Wednesday On Waste: No Unwanted Phone Books

phone books recycling

Photo by cogdogblog

For the next few weeks, I’m going to look on Wednesdays at various types of waste and how we can better dispose of these items — or prevent them from happening.

A few weeks ago, I came home to find on our porch what a friend referred to as a “steaming pile” of fresh, new telephone directories.

How often do you use a phone book?

We use them occasionally. They come in handy for:

  • Putting my feet up under my desk, because I haven’t yet bought one of those little ergonomic footstools.
  • Doing calf-raise exercises.
  • Weighing down a rag to soak up a spill on carpet.

Wait, you mean for looking up a number? I haven’t used one in YEARS. How about you?

So why do several different companies leave them on my porch?

And most frustrating, why do they continue to do so long after I opted out of these deliveries? Back in January 2008, I wrote about sneaking one book back into the delivery man’s vehicle — and then called the companies to opt out.

Well, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Here are some other ideas to try to get rid of these multi-pound deliveries of insta-recycling:

  • The most promising option for opting out of the directories you receive is to go to this link and enter your ZIP code. Then the site returns a list of directories for your area with contact information to opt out of each one individually, with the companies that print them.
  • Yellow Pages Gone Green will try to opt you out of telephone book delivery. I signed up for this in 2008, and when I tried to re-up, it told me “Sorry, you already signed this petition.” If you haven’t signed it, though, it only takes a second to add your voice to the campaign.
  • California State Senator Leland Yee has proposed legislation that would require phone companies to deliver white pages only to customers who have opted in to receive them. I’m not sure whether the failure to include yellow pages in the bill is pork-related or not, but if you are a Californian, you might let Sen. Yee know your thoughts.
  • And I heard about that bill from a post on Fake Plastic Fish about making the phone company come take back her phone book.  I was especially pleased to see Beth Terry’s post, because I was going to call my phone company and do exactly the same thing. (I only relented because Mlle. Cheap begged me to keep the phone books to use as a base for a balance beam … but maybe I should do it anyway.)

I will join with Beth of Fake Plastic Fish in urging you, dear readers, to take action if you receive phone books you do not want. If you use them, great, but if not, they are a huge waste of resources. Don’t be shy about calling and asking their publishers to take them back, take you off their lists, and stop producing them in such tremendous, mandatory quantities.

And if you do have them and don’t need them, please recycle them … after you’ve finished propping up unexpected toddlers at the dinner table, that is.

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