AT&T Fla. to Require Phone Book Opt-in

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In a sign of the times of the reigning digital age, AT&T Florida is proposing to stop providing a print copy of residential listings to its customers.

Although the yellow pages would continue to be made available in the traditional manner, if customers in Florida want the white pages they would have to call in and request a free copy from AT&T.

On average, 660,000 tons of phone books end up in landfills every year. Photo: Flickr/monkeyatlarge

On average, 660,000 tons of phone books end up in landfills every year. Photo: Flickr/monkeyatlarge

As more people turn to online white and yellow pages and rely less on paper phone books, companies and cities interested in cutting waste and expenses are increasingly exploring similar alternatives to paper phone books.

The Telephone Book Reduction Project, funded with the help of the Product Stewardship Institute and initiated by King County in Washington state and the National Waste Prevention Coalition, began in 2006.

Its mission is to help local governments—who often bear the brunt of the financial burden when it comes to phone book recycling and clean-up of phone book litter—deal with the issues related to phone book waste.

The Product Stewardship Institute undertook a massive survey, interviewing a variety of stakeholders involved in the phone book industry to determine what could be done about the problem. As a result of the project, representatives from two major industry trade associations highlighted three key issues that could help reduce the environmental impact of phone books:

  • Incorporation of environmentally-friendly production materials into phone books (such as soy ink and recycled content)
  • Promotion of the best recycling practices for existing phone books
  • Opt-out option- people can request not to receive a phone book

AT&T Florida appears to be taking these ideas another step forward, at least when it comes to the white pages. By requiring people to “opt-in” to receive a white pages phone book (requesting a paper copy), it helps prevent the production and distribution of unwanted paper phone books.

In the meantime, opting-out is easy. Go to yellow pages Web site and sign up under the “join us” tab to be removed from the printed telephone directory mailing list.

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