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Yellow Page Publishers: Stop Contributing to Paper Waste and Make it Easy for Consumers to Opt-Out!

This petition had 5,454 supporters


Despite the near universal use of online search engines, Yellow Pages phone books are still automatically dumped at Americans’ doorsteps. This is an enormous waste of resources, a burden on taxpayer-funded recycling programs, and a general nuisance. For most of us, the Internet has become our go-to resource for directories, but publishers continue to produce and deliver phone books to residences—sometimes multiple times per year. It is estimated that virgin paper production for phone books in the U.S. uses an estimated 4,680,000 trees annually; that’s about 14 football fields’ worth of forest.

Under pressure, the six major phone book companies have made vague promises. They offer a consumer opt-out program, but have not offered proof that opt out requests are actually being honored. They claim to promote “holistic sustainability” by staying in green hotels and participating in tree planting events. However, when it comes to using certified sustainable or recycled content paper or to promoting recycling - two major ways to reduce impact – these claims fall short.

The phone book industry’s own sustainability report references only one company that uses certified sustainable paper, provides no backing for claims about using recycled content paper, and fails to describe any industry financial support for the recycling of their own books.  

To separate fact from fiction, the Product Stewardship Institute conducted its first report card last year on the environmental practices of phone book publishers, and only one company participated. As such, there is no independent verification that phone book producers’ claims about using recycled content or sustainably sourced paper are true, or even that they are honoring residents’ opt-out requests.

It is time for phone book companies to take responsibility for following through on their claims!

We are calling upon phone book companies to:

  1. Fully commit to sustainability. Increase the use of post-consumer recycled paper and verify claims about paper sourcing.
  2. Honor all opt-out requests. Make opt-out metrics available to the public and accept third party opt-out requests to create accountability and transparency.
  3. Support phone book recycling. Help bear the cost of phone book recycling and promote recycling more widely to keep directories out of the waste stream.

This spring, the Product Stewardship Institute will be publishing an updated Sustainability Report Card for Telephone Directories to highlight industry successes and call them out on where they fall short. Click here to learn more.



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