Phone Books: To Opt-in or Opt-out?

Share this idea!

A survey commissioned by WhitePages found that 81 percent of consumers would support an opt-in program for white pages phone books.

The company used these findings to help start its BanThePhoneBook initiative, which encourages consumers to talk with their local government officials about opt-in white pages delivery. An opt-in option would only provide these books to the people who request them

There are enough phone books created each year to measure 106,700 miles when lined up end to end. This means they would circle around the earth about 4.28 times! Photo: Flickr/Merfam

There are enough phone books created each year to measure 106,700 miles when lined up end to end. This means they would circle around the earth about 4.28 times! Photo: Flickr/Merfam

In many states, the law requires delivery of white pages to every landline subscriber, as they contain contact information for local government in addition to personal and business listings.

WhitePages estimates there are 165,000 tons of white pages landfilled each year, and of those surveyed, only 16 percent said they recycle the books. In addition, WhitePages reports that recycling white pages costs $17 million in taxpayer funds annually.

The Yellow Pages Association is taking a different approach, creating an opt-out program for Yellow Pages delivery. By entering your zip code, the site will tell you what companies deliver directories to your area and provide contact information to remove your address or alter the frequency of receiving new yellow pages books.

In Florida, AT&T has already developed an opt-in program for its white pages. Meanwhile, other states are currently investigating these options.

Both White and Yellow pages are recyclable and can be turned into new directories or other products, such as insulation. Prior to recycling, it’s important to remove any plastic packaging or magnets as they contaminate the recycling process.

Recent Posts

Trey Granger

Trey Granger is a former senior waste stream analyst for Earth911.
Trey Granger

Latest posts by Trey Granger (see all)