After years of complaining about phone book litter by tree huggers and building owners alike, it seems as if Yellow Pages is finally getting the message that millions of Americans would like to see printed phone books disappear! I'd be willing to bet that it's been quite a while since most Americans turned, rather than scrolled, through the Yellow Pages. Yet it seems like another stack of these monstrous directories appears outside the front door of my building every few months or so.
Fortunately, the City of Chicago accepts phone books for recycling, but many towns and municipalities do not. Nor do many of Chicago's phone books find their way into a blue cart; most wind up rotting on the front steps or entry way, in the same place they were dropped off.
Late last year, cities began taking the matter into their own hands. It was Seattle, not a California city, who led the way in banning unsolicited phone book deliveries last fall, although a similar proposal found its way onto lawmakers' desks in San Francisco shortly thereafter. I rejoiced when I saw a posting last month on Tree Hugger that Yellow Pages has created a site for residents to opt out of receiving phone directories!
In Tree Hugger's interview with Neg Norton, president of the Yellow Pages Association, Norton said the company created the opt-out site because, "it doesn't make any sense for us to deliver phone books to people who don't want them." Amen! He also went on to predict that a very small amount of people would actually sign up to decline directory deliveries, as the company's surveys and studies show that 75% of households still use printed phone books.
Seventy-five percent seems awfully high to me; do 75% of households even have a land line anymore? At any rate, I went immediately to the opt-out site and entered my zip code. It showed that I was signed up to receive eight (eight!) directories a year, including the Guia Telefonica and the Russian Yellow Pages. Huh? I refused delivery of all of them. So if you're as sick of phone book litter as I am, take a minute to opt out, and pass this information along to any and every one you know who might like to opt out, too!