Residents and businesses in the high-tech “City by the Bay” will now have a choice as to whether they receive a copy of the Yellow Pages at their front door.
This week, in a near unanimous vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation to limit the distribution of commercial phone directories to residents and businesses that request them. The bill creates a three-year pilot program, starting May 1, 2012, in which Yellow Pages can only be delivered to customers who accept them in-person or give prior approval by phone or mail. The phone books can also be distributed at community centers and grocery stores.
While Seattle passed an ordinance last year allowing residents to join an opt-out list for Yellow Pages delivery, San Francisco is the first city in the nation to develop an opt-in program.
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who sponsored the bill, points out on his blog that this legislation is not a ban on Yellow Pages, as any resident who wants to receive the directory can make a request to continue delivery.
Nearly 1.6 million copies of the Yellow Pages are distributed in San Francisco annually, even though the city has approximately 800,000 residents, according to Chiu’s office. The phone books create nearly 7 million pounds of waste each year and cost the city $300 per ton to collect and recycle.
The city plans to carry out special outreach to seniors, low-income residents and others who may not have reliable access to the Internet to inform them how to continue Yellow Pages delivery.