Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who needs paper phone books anymore?

I read Ideal Bite's tips for many years and I always find there interesting green information, ideas and recommendations. Yesterday's tip was about an issue that relates almost to anyone - phone books.

Is there really a need for a paper phonebook on the digital age when we get so much info in one click? personally I think we don't need paper phone books anymore. Certainly we don't need to receive a new one every year. Do you know anyone who still use phone books?

The benefits of phone books are marginal if any. If you're looking for a phone number, you can find it very easily on websites such as AnyWho, and White Pages, or even the Google SMS service from your mobile phone.

And what about the costs?

Publish Post

Well, the costs are significant. According to Ideal Bite about 540 million unsolicited phone books arrive at American doors annually. What does it mean in terms of trees? according to the average weight of the a phone directory is 3.62 pounds, so if we use the equation of 1 metric ton of paper = 20 trees (which we use here for the book industry), we get this number: 17,740,000 trees. Yes, almost 18 million trees are cut down every year to produce these chubby unnecessary phone books.

Even more frustrating is the fact that so many of them end in landfills instead of the recycling bins. According to Ideal Bite, phone books make for about 660,000 tons of trash every year!

So what can you about it? how can we stop receiving phone books we don't need and don't use? Ideal Bite's tip is to use - it's a movement against unsolicited phone book delivery (both Yellow and White Pages books), where you can sign up to remove your home or office from receiving the telephone directories.

You're also welcome to visit to get more information about this phenomenon and find out why you keep getting these books every year (hint: someone is making money out of it..) and how many of them are recycled (less than 10%!). So check it out and spread the word about this option to stop receiving phone books year after year.

The bottom line is that it's all about the money - reports that t
he directory industry worth to the telephone companies in the United States $13.58 billion! The power of the industry and the money it makes is based mainly on its wide circulation - if many people will ask not to receive these phone books anymore, phonebooks won't be that attractive and eventually advertisers will look for other routes to put their money into (maybe the websites that provide the same service without cutting any trees..).

Raz @ Eco-Libris