Save the planet: No More Directories and No More Yellow Pages!

Global Warming Directory

A Yellow Pages directory landed on my doorstep yesterday. For the past few years I’ve been sending it and similar directories straight to the recycle bin, but I wonder why they keep coming, like zombies in a horror flick.

There’s the yellow one and the blue one, and I think there’s also a grey-and-red one. I never pay too much attention, apart from wondering why there isn’t a popular environmental front to get them banned.

Any information in those global-warming titles can be found through a few clicks of the mouse. Who in their right mind still thinks this is justified?

The only argument to keep them is that the older generation, and some change-resistant individuals still want the paper version – well, let them opt in.

For the rest of us, let’s save the planet and the whole recycle cycle from this unnecessary waste.

I got the following response from Ken Clark, the Publisher of YP Talk – “The voice of the Yellow Pages Industry”:

Not sure what possessed you to express a desire for an environment drive to eliminate printed Yellow Pages, since you clearly are not aware of numerous key facts about those books:

1) No trees are knocked down for the paper used in those books. About 40% of the content comes from recycled white material, and the rest is the surplus wood chips and residual you get when you miss a round tree for rectangular lumber.

2) Those books were referenced nearly 14 BILLION times last year, so they clearly get used.

3) Millions of small businesses find them to be a tremendous way to market their businesses. They closely monitor the ROI they get from those books, and spent some $32 billion on ads in those books.

And you never use a book? Wow. Why not? They have great maps, coupons, and they use no power as they sit there waiting to assist you in your next purchase. Maybe you should check them out.

I can understand that a revenue-line in decline, in the face of growing Internet use, is trying to protect itself from the inevitable. Notice no mention above to the Internet. This is very similar to the trend in the newspaper industry, but newspapers are holding an open discussion about it, rather than a propaganda campaign to try and protect their interests (if advertisers think the Internet is the way it’s going, they will only pay to be included in the Internet version, not the countless tons of paper that are produced every year).

In the UK about 22 million directories are dumped at our doorsteps every year (source). The industry is obviously keen to prove that this is a green exercise. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide…

PS. And about those great maps and coupons – How about putting all of these online? Wow. why not?

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