Every year 8.3 million phonebooks are delivered to Oregon's 3.1 million residents, whether we want one or not. They clutter our entryways, litter the street, and find their way from the doorstep to the landfill, and less often the recycling bin.
The production, delivery and disposal of unwanted phonebooks harms the environment, burdens Waste Management, and costs State, County and City taxpayers millions every year.
We had a bill in the Oregon legislature - Senate Bill 525 which would have moved Oregon to an opt-in system for phonebooks. For more information and talking points for 2013, please visit http://albertideation.com/sb525
The Oregon House needs to move this legislation forward!
This will lead to phonebook companies only delivering phonebooks to people who request a copy!
SB 525 died in the Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee in 2011. San Francisco has banned phonebooks and has set the pace - what are we waiting for in Oregon?
This petition is having an effect. Look for changes soon in the Portland Metro area. Also, this legislation will be brought forward by the House in 2013 - stay tuned, and find us on FB at http://facebook.com/afterthephonebook
It's past time to deal with this.
The Problem: Telephone books are prevalent in our society at a time when more people are finding contact information online. They have become a headache for homeowners and renters who receive up to 7 books a year in Oregon, and municipalities that collect and recycle the books pay the cost. The environmental impact is no less significant: delivery and collection are accomplished by vehicles, which emit pollution; many locations have no recycling opportunities for these books so they end up in landfills and incinerators; and greenhouse gases are emitted from the production of books not used. For many people, phone books are just plain annoying because they don’t want them but still get them delivered.
Cost to the Environment: Over 500 million telephone books are distributed around the country each year. According to KEX radio, in 2003 there were 6.4 million phone books delivered to 1.3 million homes in Oregon. Ban the Phone Book1, a website dedicated to stopping the waste of phonebooks, estimates that 5 million trees are needed per year to publish the white pages and found that only 22% recycle their phone books.
Cost to cities: Local jurisdictions spend millions of dollars hauling telephone books to landfills and to recycling centers. This cost is born by taxpayers in Oregon. Ban the Phonebook states that taxpayers are spending $17 million each year to have these books recycled (note: this does not include figures for white and yellow pages combined, which is likely much higher).
With more than $3 billion missing from the Oregon state budget, this measure could bring huge cost savings to struggling towns, cities, and larger government entities responsible for paying for garbage and recycling costs.
The Solution: SB 525 or something similar will support a switch to a system which saves taxpayers money, protects our forests, helps improve air quality (less paper made, less driving to distribute books, less idling vehicles), keeps tons of paper products out of our landfills and creates less need for recycling them.
Oregon First! We were the first with the bottle bill – it’s time for us to take the lead again and do what most people agree is needed – move to a system where consumers are able to opt-in and choose whether or not to receive a phone book. A USA Today article cited a survey which found that 87% of respondents support an opt-in system, preferring to receive a phone book only when requested.
I urge you to raise this issue as you speak to your constituents this year!
More info below:
When was the last time you used a phone book? Why not ask your constituents the same question?
Thanks for helping to move us into a better future. One with less waste. And smarter decisions about how we treat our forests.