Say No to Phonebooks Campaign Works to End an Old School Waste of Paper

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Image via Say No to Phonebooks

Phone books are massive chunks of paper that get delivered to your door every year whether or not you actually use it. And really, who uses phone books anymore? Practically everyone looks up everything online, or with FREE411 at the very least, and rarely is a phone book cracked open. And yet, every year, they arrive on your door step. That's why and Global Action Plan have teamed up to end the madness, and make receiving a phone book an opt-in option. Business Green reports that the organizations have launched a Say No To Phonebooks campaign after finding that out of 1,000 UK citizens surveyed, 70% are for an opt-in system for receiving phone books.

The campaign states, "75 million phonebooks are produced and delivered in the UK each year, amounting to an estimated 62,000 tons of annual waste, enough to cover Hyde Park twice!"

That's a lot of phone books. And the waste is incredible:

Add in the cost of manufacturing, delivering and recycling phone books, this equals a totally unnecessary and avoidable environmental burden. The estimated amount of resources wasted include:

* 680,000 barrels of oil (not including petrol wasted during delivery)
* 2 billion litres of water (not including water wasted in the recycling process)
* 250 million kilowatts of energy (not including the recycling process) - equates to enough energy to power 59,000 three bedroom houses for a year

From production to recycling, 62,000 tons of phonebooks equates to 79,360 metric tonnes of wasted carbon emissions!

It makes sense to ditch excess phone books. While the companies who create them would have to struggle a bit with rearranging their advertiser price structures, the planet as a whole would benefit. Plus, you wouldn't have the annoying task of tossing a stack on phone books each year.

Dominic Blackburn, product director for, equated the campaign with the government's wider efforts to tackle junk mail. "The government long ago legislated against the delivery of unwanted junk mail, but has chosen to turn a blind eye to the weightiest junk mail of all," he said.

It's a good point. We make quite an effort here in the US to stop junk mail as a way to go green, so perhaps a campaign like this could spread here as well. Oh wait! One has.

Ban the Phone Book is a US-based campaign to keep unnecessary phone books from being delivered - and eventually sent to landfill or recycling centers. They state, "5 million trees are cut down each year to create the white pages phone book and that taxpayers are spending $17 million each year to have these books recycled? Even more surprising is that almost 75% of consumers are completely unaware of the environmental and financial impact in printing, delivering and recycling these books."

Really, phone books don't seem to have much of a place in our techy world where information is at our fingertips on our phones or computers. It's time for (most) phone books to go.

More on Phonebooks
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