Stop Delivery of Unwanted Yellow Pages in San Francisco
  • Petitioned San Francisco Board of Supervisors

This petition was delivered to:

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Stop Delivery of Unwanted Yellow Pages in San Francisco

    1. Petition by

      Office of Supervisor David Chiu

May 2011


This month, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to end the distribution of unwanted commercial phone directories. In an overwhelming 9-1 vote, the city's Board of Supervisors passed its Yellow Pages opt-in ordinance, a program that will save San Franciscans $1 million taxpayer dollars year and end millions of pounds of paper waste.

More than 1,000 San Francisco residents and a total of 11,000 members across the country signed this petition to show a swell of grassroots support that helped this proposal to success. The petition became part of the legislative record, and PhonebookFree SF presented it when they returned 1,500 unwanted phonebooks to AT&T's San Francisco headquarters in March.

This victory will bring San Francisco closer to meeting its goal of zero waste by 2020, and sets a precedent that other cities can follow.

Every year 1.6 million Yellow Pages are delivered to San Francisco's 800,000 residents, whether we want one or not. They clutter our entryways, litter the street, and find their way from the doorstep to the recycling bin.

The production, delivery and disposal of unwanted phonebooks harms the environment, burdens Waste Management, and costs City taxpayers over a $1 million a year. 

David Chiu, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors agrees: "If we're serious about the environment, it's time we recognize that phone books are a 20th century tool that doesn't meet the business or environmental needs of the 21st century."

Join your neighbors and Supervisor Chiu and ask the Yellow Pages to only deliver phonebooks to people who request a copy!


Recent signatures


    1. A thank you from Supervisor David Chiu to all petition signers:

      Thank you all for your awesome show of support for the yellow pages legislation. I am proud to let you know that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly voted to approve the bill on Tuesday, May 17.

      After having to walk past a mountain of unwanted yellow pages in my apartment building year after year, I was inspired to do something that would create a more rational approach to the distribution of these books. The new San Francisco law is a triple win --- for environmental stewardship, consumer choice, and corporate social responsibility.

      The legislation will take effect on May 1, 2012 and will create a three-year pilot program to restrict yellow pages distributors from dropping unsolicited yellow pages on the doorsteps of residents who have not requested or approved of the delivery. It will not restrict distributors from using distribution racks in high traffic areas or from delivering yellow pages to customers who are at home and physically accept delivery or who give prior approval. A report from the San Francisco City Economist found that the ordinance will have a positive impact on the local economy.

      The petition was important to the victory of the legislation at the Board of Supervisors, as your over 11,000 signatures from across the country demonstrated to local San Francisco officials that this bold first-in-the-nation proposal has broad and deep support. I look forward to hearing about similar proposals in other local governments.

      In solidarity,

    2. Victory! San Francisco Ends Unlimited Phone Book Distribution

      Don't want the Yellow Pages dumped at your doorstep? Great news. If you live in San Francisco, starting May 2012, you won't get one.
      Last week, in an overwhelming 9-1 vote, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed the nation's first-ever Yellow...

    3. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed this legislation handily in a 10-1 vote yesterday! This is fantastic news. The bill faces a "customary" 2nd reading next week, but a positive vote is expected. Read The LA Times news account here:

    4. San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu and others write in the San Francisco Chronicle on why S.F. should limit Yellow Pages distribution

    5. Tomorrow: Board of Supervisors will again reconsider this legislation and could vote tomorrow!

    6. Sacremento News and Review: 'Are phonebooks obsolete?'

    7. Starting tomorrow, Seattle residents will be able to opt-out of receiving the phonebook. Soon San Francisco could be next in giving consumers more choice about the junk they receive:

    8. MORE ACTION: If you live in or know people in Oregon, please sign and share this petition in support of similar legislation:

    9. Industry Lobbying Delays San Francisco Bill to End Phone Book Waste

      San Francisco, as one of the greenest and most progressive cities in the country, has a track record of passing landmark environmental measures. Supervisor David Chiu's proposed ordinance is no exception: It would be the first program in the U.S. to...

    10. In the face of intense industry lobbying, the Board of Supervisors will be doing an economic impact report. It has delayed the vote until May 10th:

      All the more reason why the Board of Supervisors needs to hear from everyone during this time.

    11. Board meets today to vote on this legislation:

    12. San Francisco Protesters Return 1,500 Unwanted Phone Books to AT&T

      Almost 11,000 people around the country have said they don't want to receive a Yellow Pages unless they want one. Yesterday, a group of San Fransisco residents really hammered home that point.
      Evidence the photo to the left and the pile of 1,500...

    13. Organizer Lloyd Nimetz on phone book drop off event: "Today was quick, simple and absolutely awesome. We pulled off a nice little act of civil disobedience, didn't get arrested or any fine and it was successful in showing the press and the world that San Franciscans care about this issue."

    14. In a protest event this morning, PhonebookFree SF has dumped several thousand unwanted phone books in front of AT&T's San Francisco headquarters:

    15. Great news! The Board of Supervisors Committee has approved this legislation. Next step is a full vote next week:

    16. Reached 10 signatures
    17. The date for the hearing on this legislation was just announced:

      Day: Next Monday, March 21st
      Time: 1PM.
      Location: San Francisco City Hall, Board of Supervisors Chambers.

      If you are in the area, please come out and show your support!

      They are also looking for all kinds of supporters to come and speak during the public comment section. If you are attending please email and let them know if you are interested:

    18. The San Francisco Bay Guardian pokes holes in the industry's arguments against this ordinance:

    19. Reached 9 signatures
    20. Unwanted Phone Books: It Doesn't Matter If They're Yellow or White

      The way the industry portrays it, the efforts of several cities and states to end the waste of the printed Yellow Pages are a devastating blow to small businesses, offline Grannies, and even to the Constitution.
      They say hordes of people in one of...

    21. The San Francisco phone book industry has an online counter petition to stop this legislation...kind of defeats their point, huh?:

    22. Thousands of People Opt-In To Reduce Phone Book Waste

      Around the country this year, including in Oregon, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Montana, state and local governments are moving to reduce a highly-conspicuous source of fiscal and environmental waste: phone books.
      Among these,...

    23. Reached 8 signatures
    24. Nice, we're at 7,000...keep it going! The support is rolling in, including from business groups in SF such as the Small Business Network and Green Chamber of Commerce.

    25. Reached 7 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Albert Kaufman PORTLAND, OR
      • over 3 years ago

      San Francisco Set to Ban Unsolicited Phone Books

      When's the last time you looked up a number in the phone book? For us, it was probably around 1999. But the Yellow Pages keep coming. Every year there's another stack of trash delivered to your doorstep.

      Now San Francisco, the first city in the country to ban plastic bags , is about to take another step forward: Preventing the Yellow Pages from giving books to people who might not want them. Last week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to pass legislation (PDF ) that would ban unwanted delivery of the directories. Each phone book would have to be "personally delivered to an occupant or authorized representative of the residence or business or left at the residence or business following a request." A few cities have opt-out registries , but this bill is different. The Yellow Pages would have to confirm you want a book before giving you one. The legislation also includes a public outreach campaign to make sure seniors and low-income people aren't deprived of useful information.

      The bill faces one more vote this week, but it's expected to pass. If it does, the savings will be considerable . According to the city, the 1.6 million business directories delivered every year would stack up to 8 1/2 times the height of Mt. Everest, and banning them would actually boost the economy by lowering advertising rates and reducing damage to municipal recycling machinery.

      Let's hope laws like this catch on elsewhere. There are tons of great doorstops on Etsy .

    • Crystal Barron LAHAINA, HI
      • over 3 years ago

      I think that instead of having "opt out" as an option I think that people or businesses that do in fact want a phone book ANYWHERE, not just San Francisco, should have to "opt in" before the production of them. Stop littering our world with unnecessary trash. With most any information available on-line now, the entire industry behind making phone books EVERYWHERE should become a thing of the past. Imagine all the trees it would save, and all the gas/oil it would save in not having to ship or distribute and imagine all the time= money it would save in NOT PRODUCING phone books at all. Think of all the waste that would NOT go into landfills EVERY YEAR!

      Think About It!

    • Saran Singh ANTELOPE, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Only deliver the phone books to people who want them. Stop wasting our money and time, we have to keep on throwing them away while the companys print more.

    • Tai Le DES MOINES, IA
      • over 3 years ago

      I support this petition just because I don't need that. It also bothers me many time because bad people take my phone number in Yellow Page and call to advertise something, even the debt collector use it to ask me paying back a debt that I never made.

      I prefer to stop issue all of the phone books.

    • Albert Kaufman PORTLAND, OR
      • over 3 years ago

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