Telephone Directories: Recycle and “Opt Out”

Click here to see videos about recycling your phonebooks.

Over 500 million telephone directories are printed every year. That is nearly two books for every person in the country. The directories produce a staggering amount of waste, not only in terms of misused natural resources but also in filling valuable landfill space.  

To produce 500 million phone books:

  • 19 million trees need to be harvested
  • 1.6 billion pounds of paper are wasted
  • 7.2 million barrels of oil are misspent in their processing (not including the wasted gas used for their delivery to your doorstep)
  • 268,000 cubic yards of landfill are taken up
  • 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are squandered 
The cost associated with the delivery and disposal of these books is exorbitant. Unfortunately, these unsolicited costs fall heavily on consumers.  

Options for Recycling Telephone Directories?
The city accepts telephone directories as part of the curbside recycling service. Place them in the blue recycling bag along with all regular household paper and paperboard boxes, aluminum, steel and aerosol cans, plastic containers #1-#7 (excluding #6, polystyrene/Styrofoam), and glass bottles and jars. Call (972) 721-8059 to inquire about your curbside recycling schedule or click here for more information.

The city also accepts telephone directories at all city operated drop-off recycling centers. Click here for a list of locations, hours of operation and a complete list of acceptable materials.

Wanting to “Opt Out” of Receiving a Telephone Directory?
The Yellow Page Association and Association of Directory Publishers have created a consumer “opt out” program, where consumers can call the publisher, or visit www.yellowpagesoptout.com to opt out.

AT&T/Yellow Pages
Call 1-866-329-7118 and press 1. Be prepared to give a home phone number, name, e-mail address for confirmation, home address. The representative also will ask if and when any AT&T phone books are dropped. The opt out offer is good for three years; however, those who opt out may be contacted yearly to confirm. If the individual cannot be reached by telephone or e-mail, delivery may resume.

Verizon/Idearc Media                 
Call 1-800-888-8448 and press 2. Be prepared to give a home telephone number, name, e-mail address for confirmation, and home address. The representative also will ask which directories the individual would like to opt out of. Residents can opt out of receiving any or all of the telephone books from Verizon. This is also a three year opt out program.

Other links:
www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org will contact the publishers, requesting to "opt out" the individual or business that signs up via their website. It's the responsibility of the publisher to act in accordance to consumers' demands.

Junk Mail opt out:
www.donotmail.org

Opt Out information for various materials/publications:
consumerist.com
www.privacyrights.org

There is not a national no-delivery organization like the National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov). Individual Yellow and White Page organizations state that you can call them and they will put you on a list to not receive books. But they are not held liable or accountable if the book shows up anyway.

Posted July 17, 2009