Gallery: GREEN RANT: Stop Sending me Phone Books!

photo by Arek Taylor in San Diego
photo by Arek Taylor in San Diego

Inspiration for this rant landed on doorsteps in my area a few weeks ago, and has been sitting there, becoming increasingly soggy and unsightly ever since. Digging around the internet I found that many other people are also upset about the massive yellow and white phone books forced upon them. Some areas even have four or five phone directory companies distributing books to each residence! Maybe the contract companies hired to drop off the books do not have the resources to consider individual addresses in metropolitan areas like Philadelphia, where I reside, but the litter created globally by the mass amounts of unwanted phone books seems inexcusable. Wanting to know who I could point a finger at, I set out to find the root cause of the issue.

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  1. jjones444 December 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I can’t believe companies still waste all their time and money sending paper phone books anymore. The only thing they are good for anymore is door stops or booster seats. I think they’re a thing of the past and should be gone, since nobody has looked at one for a decade. It’s not like the newspaper, which is a great American news source and piece of history; it’s a huge waste of space and paper.

  2. daverad January 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    This has been driving me crazy as well! My bro and I decided to start a rolling catalog of photos showing how wasteful phone books are!

    If you come across any phone books on the street snap a photo and send it to:

    All the photos pop up on: and if you take it with a smartphone the photos will also geotag so we can show how serious the problem is across the globe.

    There are so many people who stand behind this cause – its time for phone book companies to think beyond the book!

  3. September 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    In San Diego, when I lived there, this was a huge problem. Out of pure green rage one time, a friend and I followed a pick-up truck full of books that was passing through our hood. We were on foot, picking up as many stacks as we could carry, just seconds after the delivery guys would drop them off. We hid behind bushes and buildings trying to stay out of their site. When they would throw the hazards on and walk stacks of books up to the different apartment complexes, we would strike, filling the back of their truck back up with the books they had just dropped off minutes earlier.

    This, of course, is not the way to combat the issue, but like I mentioned, I was fuming at the time, and didn’t really care, as long as I got my little sucker punch in.

    Great article and follow-up Lea.

    I imagine in the tough times we’re currently facing economically, that it must be dangerously foolish for these large companies to keep spending huge amounts of money on print materials. Slowing the spending on print seems like an easy way to cut corners on their end of things- in hopes of saving a little coin. That being said, you would think that this would be advantageous to the public- people like you and I who want to see this type of nonsense stopped.

    It’s wonderful to hear the responses you’ve received. That alone leads me to believe that my assumptions about cutting corners on print costs must be at least somewhat accurate.

    Keep us in the loop!

  4. Lea Bogdan September 5, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Hey readers! A follow up from my Green Rant article. My block was doused by another round of bagged up phonebooks ready to become rain soaked trash. This time the books were from Yellowbook. I had failed to include them on my original post, but they are also a major player in directory printing and operate in 48 states.

    Here is additional information is you would like to opt-out as I just did a few minutes ago. The inside cover of the directory points customers to to request opt-out. I’m doubtful that this will actually work since the vacant luxury condo building next to me currently has six books littering the walk outside its front door, and I suspect the delivery of the books is not on an individual basis. It is worth a try though!

  5. edkohler August 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

    The yellow pages industry does offer opt-out options, although they have a bad habit of ignoring their own opt-out lists. So, while I don’t think it hurts to opt-out, don’t get your hopes up regarding future deliveries.

  6. chrisp68 August 13, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Superb article… Yes we are a country of over plenty and just don’t give a %^&$

    Makes me think of the bag recycle container in front of the grocery store… people feel good about the effort they have made to bring the bags to the recycling container… But my question is why don’t they just reuse the plastic bags they just dropped off?

  7. nhubof August 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I just created a Facebook group, Scrap the Phonebook, so please join.

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