Green Your Yellow Pages: How to Opt-Out of Receiving Wasteful Telephone Books

yellow-pages-dartIf you’re online, who needs a printed phone book? You can search, find, and contact the person or company much faster with a click than a flip.  And think of the paper you save.

I read this terrific sustainability blog from Green Living Tips about the environmental impact of printing and distributing the White and Yellow Page phone books, and how you can opt-out.

Phone books are hugely unsustainable. Did you know that according to Yellow Pages Goes Green, in the USA alone the 540 million directories represent:

  • 19 million trees to provide the paper
  • 1.6 billion pounds of paper wastage
  • 7.2 million barrels of oil (not including delivery)
  • 268,000 cubic yards of landfill
  • 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption

Ugh! The post has more startling green information.  So I opted-out of my Yellow Pages delivery this morning at

Now, to get rid of all of those old telephone books around your home and office, here are some uses short of tossing it in the recycling bin:

Packing material

  • Shredded, wet, then compressed into bricks for wood fires
  • Paper mache crafts
  • Composting
  • Mulching
  • Useful as food for a worm farm
  • Bird cage liners and general pet cleanup chores
  • Wet and mold into biodegradable seedling pots

Let me know when you’ve opted out and what you’re going to be doing with your old books. Please share this blog with your world, and save a few trees in the process.

(Photo: Small Business Commando News)

15 Comments On This Topic
  1. Adam Kayce posted
    January 31, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Awesome! I’ve always wondered if there was a way to opt-out of getting phone books, and now there is. And I have.


  2. Park posted
    January 31, 2009 at 8:30 am

    I also just learned about where you can opt-out of junk mail as well. Great resource to protect our resources.

  3. Doc Kane posted
    January 31, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Brilliant! I’ve been looking for this solution for some time now. Thanks!

    I’m digging the seedling pot idea. Fabulous.

  4. Franis Engel posted
    January 31, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Better than that – pretty much anyone with a laser printer and a land line can start their own small community phone book. It’s a great community builder and binder. When neighbors have each other’s phone number, they tend to talk to each other more…do things together, etc. Instead of driving to the next town, they ask each other for help and services. It’s much easier to find things in a tiny neighborhood phone book than in that big lunky yellow page conglomerate. I know. I make one myself. I can teach you how!

  5. Alyson Kendall posted
    February 1, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you so much for bringing the green implication of yellow pages to light.

    From a marketing prospective,there are so many targeted areas on websites to reach your potential customers without the wastage that the printed Yellow Pages offers. Additionally, advertiser’s rates are based off of total circulation of the Yellow Pages in the area being purchased. And since most people are delivered their books without ever requesting them, the majority wind up in the trash or at the very least go unused.

  6. tracy posted
    February 2, 2009 at 6:19 am

    I just got rid of 3 years of books. I put them in the recycle bin up at the school where they earn cash for filling up the bins. They can also get additional bin if they fill them up fast. Thank you for the great link i will spread it around.

  7. Sam Alpert posted
    February 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    This is good info – thank you.


  8. Opt-in to sustainable, eco-friendly and green habits | posted
    February 4, 2009 at 10:11 am

    [...] post on how to opt-out of receiving wasteful White & Yellow Pages phone directories was so popular, I thought I’d follow-up with a few more ways you can uncluttered your life, [...]

  9. (Anti) Social Lists 2/8/09 | (Anti) Social Development posted
    February 8, 2009 at 3:13 am

    [...] Green Your Yellow Pages – Finally! How to opt out of receiving the white and yellow pages from the phone company. I didn’t think it could be done. [...]

  10. Knight Brewster posted
    February 8, 2009 at 6:14 am

    This is cool. I’ve been wondering if it was possible to opt out of those phone book deliveries. Going to go do it now. Thanks for the info.

  11. AJ posted
    February 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    If anyone is looking for an online directory after they opt-out, is a good one.

  12. Water - Use It Wisely » Blog Archive » EH2ED Guest Blog Feature - Park Howell Reveals 11 Ways to Easily Opt-Out of Wasteful Stuff and Happily Green Your Life posted
    April 10, 2009 at 8:03 am

    [...] loved the post on how to opt-out of receiving wasteful White & Yellow Pages phone directories so much, I thought I’d follow-up with a few more ways you can easily green your life and [...]

  13. Premium Web Directory posted
    June 15, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Incredibly Great Blogpost. Would you mind if I take a little snippets of your write-up and of course link it to your blogposts??

  14. Park Howell posted
    June 15, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Sure, that’s fine.

  15. Manish Kumar posted
    July 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    this is great point for yellow pages

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