Tips for Recycling Phone Books

What do you do with a telephone directory once it has expired?  On average, we tend to get about two new phone books per year. Here’s how to handle your obsolete phone books.

  1. Check your community programs. Many local and state recycling facilities now accept them, possibly even through your curbside program.  Find out where you can recycle phone books using Earth911. Telephone directories are recycled into new directories, as well as:
    • Roofing surfaces
    • Insulation materials
    • Grocery bags
    • Paper towels
  2. Remove contaminants. Any restrictions on phone book recycling are due to the fact that your phone book is generally littered with material that can contaminate the recycling process, such as magnets and plastics.  It is best to be sure you check with your local and state guidelines for recycling to ensure you have prepped your phone book properly before tossing it in a bin.
  3. Compost the content. Shred the pages and use them in your garden to help keep weeds down.  The paper is biodegradable and will eventually break down.
  4. Get creative with Reuse. Use the whole book as a booster seat: Simply cover it with the fabric of your choice and seal the seams with fabric glue or a needle and thread. Use the bulky directories to dry leaves and flowers. Shredded phone book pages can also be used as a substitute for packing peanuts, which are not biodegradable.