Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Impact Does the Phone Book have on the Planet?

As a prequel to this post I must say I love this world and the way things always seem to work out just the way they should. Most of the time the winds and waves of fate push us in the direction we are supposed to move so if we do not fight them we end up landing right where we should; carried by the natural way of things. When this type of thing happens it always makes me smile.

This morning I felt a strange need to go back over to read through the comments on Jason’s latest blog posting. It is truly rare that I do this on anyone’s blog, generally I leave my comment and go about my life until I see the next posting and then, repeat, but for some reason I felt compelled to be there today so I went with it and the end result, as referenced above, was a big smile.

One of the comments shared a couple links to the issue of the Yellow Pages and how the unsolicited delivery of them nation wide creates a huge draw on natural resources (sadly this person’s profile is set to private so I can not link back, sorry!). I had been considering what to write about today and bingo, there it was, a story I had forgotten about came rushing back. Here is what laura had to say:

“Arrrgh! Phone books came this week and I hung my head in shame. Not only did I get my shiny new set at work, but at home too. So now I feel like a complete drain on mother Earth. So I did a little searching online to see if this issue was being addressed by the sane.
EVERYONE please sign up to stop the madness! Go Paperless people! 540 million copies of these tree wasting bricks are delivered EVERY year in the US alone. The Google has it all kids!
Sign up to be removed from the mailing lists.
I know that Jason's friends love the planet and thought they'd want to know. Heck, I might be the one catching up or should I say waking up.
Spread the love.”

I responded there to thank laura for the links and share a story about our own phone book delivery a while back. Matt and I were out front when the delivery person arrived. The books were not shrink-wrapped and he stacked them on the side of our front lobby. We, almost simultaneously, indicated we did not need one and thanks anyway but he could give it to someone else. He told us that he was not allowed to do that, he had to leave them or he would not get paid. We were stunned that trees were being chopped down for something we do not even need but at the time we had no idea what to do other than to take our copy back upstairs and recycle it with the paper later that week. We thought, who needs a phone book when there is Google or these days? (The really important thing to note here is that I just went down to the lobby and there are still 32 various books just sitting there, taking up space and getting no use. Some have been there well over two months.)

Enter laura and the links so generously shared over at the Freshness Factor.

I immediately went to Yellow Pages Goes Green and began investigating. Turns out this grassroots movement is pretty alright! They indicate that 540 million yellow/white pages are printed each year (that is 1.79 books per every person in the United States) and their mission is to turn it around so these books are not simply left (unsolicited) but a consumer has to call to have one delivered if they want one, thus saving millions of tons of resources and emissions annually but still making the resource available to those who really want or need it. Clearly these folks felt the same as Matt and I about the advent of the Internet for providing information that meets our needs. After reading through all of the information on the website I was elated and signed up, hopeful it would make a difference.

Then it was time to visit the Paperless Petition link. I found this site to provide about the same information as the first and opted to use Matt’s information instead of my own so we would be doubly covered just in case. The cool thing about this site is they are able to support requests from Canada, the UK and Australia in addition to the US. International readers, this is the one for you!

I am not sure how effective signing up will be as we live in an apartment building and I do not know if this would be something my landlord would need to request but I figured it could not hurt to try anyway. Here is hoping that there will be at least one less book in all of the piles downstairs from now on. Please feel free to sign up if you no longer use the physical yellow pages. It takes just a minute and the planet will thank you.

As laura said “spread the love”.

UPDATE: Laura's profile is up but she does not have a blog so please don't spam her, thanks!


Bridgete said...

OMG thanks! I think I have 5 or 6 sitting in my living room, completely unused. I need to tote them to the recycle bin. Especially considering I have a yellow pages app on my iPhone.

Speaking of cell often are people even home when they need a phone number? I'd like to see if there's been an increase in 411 calls due to the increased use of cell phones. Which reminds me, Google now has a free 411-type service - call 1-800-466-4411 to use it.

Karen said...

Great idea. Who uses phone books anymore?? Big, big waste.

Jenn said...

Hey Bridgete thanks so much for sharing the phone number, I will be putting that in my cell contacts. You also raise a great point about the times when people are looking for a phone number and where they are. I agree most of the time it is while on the road and as you mentioned the iPhone has the App for retrieving that number at a moment's notice. As more people jump on that band wagon it will become even more likely the old book will become obsolete. It is too much waste!!

Another thing this make me think is -- why am I even getting a phone book delivered at all? I don't have a land line at home, its cell all the way!