Yellow Pages Spam Mostly Doesn’t Come from Trees

Ken Clark raises a good point about the source material used to create phone books these days. They’re not exactly mowing down virgin forests to make the things. He thinks the industry could do a better job promoting this fact:

But I don’t blame the public for their lack of understanding, I blame the industry. How would someone know about how recycled white material, wood chips, and even some good old fashion trash are the sources of the content/fiber that makes up the pages of the a phone book – we’ve never bothered to tell anyone about it which is really perplexing at a time every industry is shouting about its environmental efforts.

That is a good point. Of course, a phone directory that’s delivered to a property that has no interest in using it, or no residents (such as foreclosures) is still a complete waste, and a tax burden to dispose of.

Ken, of course, plays the opt-out card to explain that it’s a non-issue, but I’ve never seen a foreclosed house make a phone call to 1, 2, or 3 yellow pages directory companies. Ken is also well aware of the issues I’ve had with yellow pages directory companies not actually honoring the opt-out requests they’ve received. A yellow pages directory sent to my home is wasteful no matter what is used for materials.

Ken also seems to be forgetting that a huge percentage of phone books are delivered in plastic bags.

And Ken seems to be suggesting that the ONLY thing remnant wood chips and recycled paper could possibly be used for is phone books. It’s as is the YP industry is doing is a service by converting piles of wood chips into yellow pages which we an then send to recycling centers or landfills.

At some point, I think Ken will begin to understand that REDUCE comes before REUSE or RECYCLE. He’s not there yet. A person that thinks YP opt-in policies are the radical thinking of a “few obtuse paper jihadists” still has a way to go before reaching the reality based community.

5 thoughts on “Yellow Pages Spam Mostly Doesn’t Come from Trees”

  1. And there’s also all the fuel that goes into manufacturing all this instant garbage and delivering it in trucks to people who don’t want it.

    Love this site btw!!

  2. Thank you for the involuntary mind-meddle so you could explain exactly what I was thinking and believing, what my deficiencies are, just how obtuse I’ve been, and where I have let you down. It really helped me understand myself more. I’m feeling much better now.

  3. gosh, and i thought ken was being so nice, not blaming us for our “lack of understanding,” and stooping down to talk at our level and all. now it almost seems like he’s kind of bitter, and doesn’t like back-talk from “the public.” 🙁

  4. @Ken, while there are people who think that every phone book is a complete waste of resources (recycled or not) i think you understand that my beef is with the overproduction of phone books. Delivering books to people who no longer want them, or simply do not exist (foreclosures) is what ticks me off. Asking the industry to show some respect for communities by tightening things up a bit seems pretty reasonable to me. Is that too jihadi?

    Michelle, welcome to Ken’s world. I realize that people with a vested interest in an industry have a bias, but I can’t figure out how Ken has failed to grasp where market sentiment is today for his industry.

  5. the take away message for greenwashers might be to not open a public dialogue unless you really are interested in having an actual dialogue.

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