Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

Local Search Association Joins America Recycles Day

The following is from a press release issued by the association:

Yellow Pages Industry

Recognizes ‘America
Recycles Day’ with

Commitment and Consumer Choice

50 Percent Reduction
in Industry’s Paper Usage Predicted Between 2007 and 2012;

Directory Recycling
Rates Increased 15.5 Percent Over Last Year

Heights, N.J. – November 15, 2011
In recognition of America Recycles Day, the Local Search Association has joined with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) to strengthen its commitment to “Reduce” and “Recycle” – important tenets of the Yellow Pages industry’s sustainability program. Since launching its sustainability program, the industry has improved delivery choice options for consumers, increased recycling rates and reduced paper usage.

Many consumers rely on print Yellow Pages to make purchases that support local businesses and the local economy, and others prefer to use the increasing number of digital and mobile solutions offered by Association members. To provide those who prefer to do their research online, the Association and its members are actively educating consumers about how they can easily stop or limit phone book delivery to their homes through a few clicks at  The website offers a single location to select which phone directories they
receive or to stop directory delivery altogether.

“Keep America Beautiful and consumers across the country are always looking for simple steps they can take to help protect our environment,” said Becky Lyons, chief operating officer at KAB. “We encourage everyone to recycle their outdated phone directories or opt out of delivery if they prefer to search online.  The website at is a simple solution.”

The Association will be attending the Keep America Beautiful 58th National Conference on November 30 – December 2, 2011, in New Orleans. Association members AT&T Advertising Solutions, Dex One and Yellowbook will meet with Keep America Beautiful affiliate communities as part of the Association’s Conference Collaborative, an initiative to unite member companies at key environmental and government conferences.

Yellow Pages Highlights Sustainable Outcomes

  • Yellow Pages publishers have made substantial reductions in paper usage. Paper suppliers project the industry will use 50 percent less paper by the end of 2012 than they did at peak usage in 2007.
    • This decrease has been driven by changes in the size of directories, more efficient manufacturing, an industry-sponsored effort to reduce printed residential white pages, a general decline in the number of directories distributed,       and the Consumer Choice website.
  • According to the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Municipal Solid Waste report, directories are the smallest contributor of paper and paperboard products to the solid waste stream, representing only 0.3 percent — significantly less than all other paper product categories, including newspapers (3.2 percent), office paper (2.2 percent) and standard mail (1.9 percent).
  • Directory recycling rates increased 15.5 percent over last year through recycling programs, according to the latest EPA data.
  • The industry continues to print on paper that is manufactured from a combination of recycled paper waste and leftover scraps of sawdust and woodchips from lumber production processes whenever available. Publishers have also turned to soy-based and non-toxic inks, glues and dyes used in printing and production processes. and our sustainability programs are supported by directory publishers across the country and illustrate our ongoing commitment to not delivering a directory to people who prefer not to receive one,” said Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association. “We look forward to working with Keep America Beautiful to help spread awareness and to develop other source reduction ideas.”

Easy Interface Gives Consumers Greater, More Reliable Choice

Providing  consumers with options about how they search for local businesses and the directories delivered to their homes is the primary goal of the industry’s consumer choice initiative. The  website offers:

●     An easy way for consumers to stop the delivery of one, several or all directories to their homes.

●     Images of directory covers and delivery schedules, making it easy for consumers to identify which directories to include in their opt-out request.

●     Email confirmation to confirm participants’ selections.

●    Complete privacy as consumers’ personal information is used for the sole purpose of optimizing their Yellow Pages experience and will never be sold to third parties.

This centralized website, a collaboration between the Local Search Association and the Association of Directory Publishers, is a significant industry effort that includes participation of publishers around the country to make sure that delivery requests are honored and updated on a timely basis.

Providing Valuable & Sustainable Local Search Options

Approximately three million small businesses nationally advertise in the Yellow Pages and research from Burke shows that more than 7 out of 10 U.S. adults use print Yellow Pages to find a local business.

“Consumers continue turning to print Yellow Pages to find local businesses, driving valuable new leads for our advertisers. The directories also provide frequently used community and government information,” said Norton. “Print directories remain a central component of our industry’s growing portfolio, which today includes digital, social and mobile platforms. We’re constantly working to transform and innovate so that we can continue supporting local businesses and consumers in the most environmentally friendly way.”

To read the full Local Search Association 2011 Sustainability Report, please visit:

Cleveland Recycling Efforts

Posted in Phonebook Recycling News by Ken C on July 28, 2011
Tags: ,

From the Sun Star Courier

PHONE BOOK RECYCLING— If you’re looking for a way to dispose of your old phone books, the Cleveland Metroparks can help.

Until Sept. 30, old or unwanted telephone books can be recycled at 12 Metroparks locations in the dark green collection containers. Nearby sites include the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, in the hippo parking lot; Huntington Reservation on Lake Road in Bay Village, in the overflow parking lot and the Rocky River Reservation, Cedar Point Road, North Olmsted, grist mill parking lot.

Cristie Snyder, program officer for the Metroparks, said this is the largest phone book recycling program in the state, with an estimated 15 million pounds of phone recycled since 1993. The books are recycled into low-grade paper products like paper towel tubes and gypsum board.

For more information, call (216) 443-3749, or visit

Study – Only Limited Interest in Green Marketing

Posted in Misc Green News by Ken C on June 14, 2011
Tags: , ,

Environmentally sensitive marketing efforts were the hottest new thing just prior to the start of this current recession.  Now though, they are seen as just another niche effort for many companies, this coming from the conclusion of a recent study from OgilvyEarth.

Can you blame the marketers — only 16% of consumers actually respond to green campaigns.   Perhaps it is consumers’ perception of what’s driving the green marketing effort.  From the company’s press release:   “half of Americans think the green and environmentally friendly products are marketed to ‘Crunchy Granola Hippies’ or ‘Rich Elitist Snobs’ rather than ‘Everyday Americans’…. ”

The most telling stats from the study:

  • While 82% of Americans have  “good green intentions,” only 16% are dedicated to fulfilling them.
  • 66% — or “the Middle Green” — are pretty much ignored by marketers.
  • Overall, 82% have no clue how to estimate their carbon footprint.
  • 70% would rather cure cancer than fix the environment.

Or could it be that consumers are a little smarted than those company marketers give them credit for??

The Internet is Killing the Planet

Surprise, surprise to find the Vancouver Sun newspaper of all folks running an article that the Internet is killing the planet.

It really isn’t the stretch that some of you may think it is.  Say you do a Google search. Your query kicks into action about 1,000  servers at various Google data centers. Those computers scan billions of web pages already in Google’s archives on your behalf and bring back a result (usually 1.8+ million other links you could access).  When you take one billion daily Google searches, together with some 60 million Facebook status updates each day, and pile on 50 million daily tweets plus 250 billion emails per day, you’re using a whole bunch of electricity, and not just at your end of the computer.

The bulk of all this energy being used is from a fast-growing network of huge “server farms” or data centers that are the backbone of the Internet. These are the computers that make the Internet what it is, routing traffic and storing all of that ever-expanding globs of data.   The data centers are hi-tech, hi-security facilities, some the size of five Wal-Marts, packed from floor to ceiling with tens of thousands of computers. Not only do all those computers have an insatiable appetite for energy, but they also require hi-capacity cooling equipment to prevent overheating.

For example, as the article notes — Apple’s 46,000-square-metre iDataCenter is about to open in North Carolina (which worked very hard to recruit them and the jobs it brings to their cheap electric state) will use an estimated 100 megawatts of power — as much as about 100,000 homes. Ah, but there is more:  Google has a 44,000-square-metre data center already in the state that is expected to consume an estimated 60 to 100 MW. Facebook has a 28,000-square-metre facility under construction there that will use another 40 MW.

To put it another way, if the Internet was a country, it would be the planet’s fifth-biggest consumer of power, ahead of India and Germany, and that need is expected to nearly double by 2020. The Internet now consumes two to three per cent of the world’s electricity.

Now here is the kicker – all of those North Carolina data centers are powered by electricity generated from cheap and highly polluting coal power. Even Greenpeace likes to call the three facilities “North Carolina’s dirty data triangle.”

So after all the lectures from paper atheists on how bad the environmental impact is from print Yellow Pages directories, we need to use coal, one of the most polluting of all fossil fuels and the world’s single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the nirvana of a more efficient and greener world we are supposed to be getting from the advent of the Internet.

I hope the workers are driving to these data centers in a Chevy Volt.   Then we’d have some polar bears really upset as their Greenland glaciers
start melting.

One final thought – if Al Gore invented the Internet, how come he never blames himself in his rants about what we are doing to the environment??

Caymen Islands Completes Successful Recycling Effort

Kudos to the Caymen Island Yellow Pages team (Global Directories) for a successful “Yellow2Green” recycling initiative (link) that was completed recently in the Cayman Islands. 

The team managed to collect over 38,000 old telephone directories in just a three week period.  The company reported that the community was extremely supportive as they also had a primary school friendly challenge.   “We’re absolutely thrilled,” said CIYP Marketing Manager Eileen Keens. “It’s amazing to witness a country’s spirit of community and responsibility – so many people actively participated in this campaign for a common good.”

What did they do with all those old directories?  The collected directories were sent to their partner, GreenFiber in Tampa, to be converted into home insulation in the USA.

Congrats to the entire team for their fine recycling programs.

Anti-Small Business Behavior & Elections

Yes, there are other voices in the industry that clearly understand how absurd some of the commentary has been on the whole opt-out discussion, as well as the totally anti-small business politics that local legislators have launched in San Francisco & Seattle.

One such voice is Dick Larkin who writes the TheCommando newsletter which focuses on small business.  His most recent summary carrying the title of “The election didn’t solve this” outlines the key issues and misstatements in a clear, concise, yet powerfully review: #yp

For example:

The thing that the politicians miss is that directories drive substantial local business activity, and curtailing directories would suppress the local economy.

Let’s hope (an overused word these past few years) that the 99% of those who understand the value of the print directories, and the millions of small businesses that use the products to promote their businesses, can help change (another totally abused word) those local legislators that don’t get it and are bowing to a small group.

As Dick suggested:

I’d love to see exactly how Senator Yee spent his campaign funds and what measures he took to ensure that he did not print, mail, or distribute his campaign message to San Francisco residents who were not interested in hearing from him.

Now that would be a real useful opt-out program. The volume of crap I received during this last election was easily 2x the volume of paper used in the local directories that I receive once a year.  But somehow groups lead by Seattle City Councilman O’Brien are more focused on the 3% of the waste stream (their calculations, not mine) that they say (EPA pegs it at just .3%) print directories are causing.

But I’m sorry, we’re talking about politicians.  They get to play by a separate set of rules don’t they?



AARP to Fight Request in Florida to Stop White Pages

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on September 8, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

Isn’t this an usually twist in the effort be more eco-oriented.

AT&T is among several telephone companies that have been asking the local Public Service Commission’s (PSC) which regulate the utilities for a change to regulations with REQUIRE them to send all home-telephone customers a new White Pages every year.  The change would end the annual “automatic delivery” of residential white pages each year.  Instead residents would need to ask for them.  The change makes a lot of sense as the white pages phone books are not being used as frequently as they once were with the availability of operator assisted/411 type services and online directories.  You would also think that such a move should please those paper book haters who believe any directory is a source of waste.

The interesting turn is that the AARP in Florida is now fighting such a change in Florida (link to article) saying that:

“The White Pages contain important contact information, such as phone numbers for doctors’ offices and pharmacies,” says Leslie Spencer, AARP Florida Associate State Director for Advocacy. “It’s one thing to say that anyone can find the same information online. But it’s another for some people to actually find information online as easily as they can find it in a phone book.”

Some people – particularly Floridians of modest means – may not have Internet access, she adds.

So finding information online isn’t always easy?  Really?

This isn’t the first time an issue like this has come up before.  We commented back in July of 2009, that when a similar measure was implemented in Cleveland, AT&T’s customer service lines were flooded with callers who wanted a book.  That blog really twisted the knickers of the paper haters as you can see in the comments area for that blog.

So now will those same paper haters boycott AARP???  Grandma will not be happy….

Setting the record straight

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on August 5, 2010
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It can be frustrating for those that work in the industry to see posts like this recent one:  Get 100000 Canadians to opt out of the Yellow Pages – George Dearing

Not because this one person doesn’t want a book.  That’s not a problem.  If someone is among the less than 5% of people who have issues with a print book, fine, publishers all have opt-out programs now so they won’t send you one in the future.  But more so because of the ongoing perception that there is a direct correlation between a printed phone book and the loss of a tree somewhere on the planet.  The fact is that isn’t true, and I’ve written about it many times – here, here, and here are just a few examples.

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.

I’m not sure why the yellow pages industry has been so shy about promoting where the source of its paper comes from, the recycling programs they coordinate, and even the local economic value they bring to the communities they publish in.   Perhaps it is an old hangover from the original one telephone company/old AT&T days.  The directory operations were always this strange non-telco unit that most of the senior managers in the telecom based company never really understood, but which generated a lot of revenue for them.  It was always one of the biggest, successful brand images in their local market.  So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

When I see these type of posts and can provide information, most reasonable people like George will acknowledge they were unaware of the process, are surprised, even reassured to see what really happens.  The few obtuse paper jihadists, whose comments you will  see sprinkled all through this and other blogs, well, no matter what factual content you provide them with it’s never enough for them  — the industry has rigged the numbers — we are still delivering to vacant houses — no one wants the books — or any of a dozen other rambling rants.  And then should another new book arrive at their door, my God, it becomes a major affront on their space and civil liberties.

But once again, I’m not sure we can totally blame them for their responses.  In a way we have conditioned them that no matter what they say or do, no matter how incorrect their commentary, the industry seems to sit back and ask for more.  It then usually comes down to having to meet with a local legislator who has a small handful of people complaining to their office on a regular basis to set the record straight.

I thought we were an advertising media.  Why aren’t we telling our story more frequently, more forcefully, more accurately so the greater public get to hear it??

Kudo’s to Berry Company for another successful recycling effort

The annual Think Yellow, Go Green Recycling Program coordinated by The Berry Company, the publisher of the Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages (HTYP), was another great success resulting in some 36,606 outdated directories this year being collected for recycling.

From the company’s press release:

“Altogether, Hawaii’s Neighbor Island schools quadrupled last year’s contest total, from 16 to 64 tons, which local recyclers convert into products that are used on the islands,” said Scott Szczekocki, regional director of client services for Berry Hawaii. “We applaud our schools for these outstanding results. Our students are already aware of the importance of local sustainability initiatives and keeping our islands green.”

Schools on Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui were rewarded for the most directories per student collected with cash prizes.  The first place winners included King Kaumuali’I Elementary on Kauai, Waimea Country School on the Big Island, Kamali’i Elementary on Maui and Maunaloa School on Molokai.

The books collected were sent to participating island recyclers such as Garden Isle Disposal on Kauai, Orchid Island Rubbish & Recycle on the Big Island, Maui Disposal, Makoa Trucking on Molokai and Lanai Trucking, and then shipped to Island Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii for processing into oil-absorbent materials, home insulation, and mulch.

The effort shows that while Berry is a key information source for local commerce, the company is also committed to bringing environmental, social and economic benefits to the places where people live and work.

Kudo’s to the Berry Company

Leading Independent Publishers Release New IYP Apps

Posted in Print Yellow Pages by Ken C on July 2, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Two of the leading independent publishers – Names & Numbers and Valley Yellow Pages have recently announced the launching of new Android apps joining previously released Iphone apps, to further enable people to finding local businesses on the go in each of their mobile/IYP products.

These products offer a further extension of their successful print Yellow Page products using a complimentary media for both advertisers and users alike.


Names & Numbers is a leading independent publisher of telephone directories in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Southern United States, announced the release of the free app to provide real-time directory information on Android-based smartphones for today’s user-on-the-go.

“We continue to bring local businesses and consumers together using every technology possible,” said Todd McKnight, Chief Operating Officer of Names and Numbers. “Following the release of our iPhone app in March, our latest app gives Android users the same ability to quickly locate, and immediately connect to, businesses that affect their lives on a daily basis.”

The Names and Numbers Android application offers local business search on a national level with content available throughout the entire U.S. The app, which offers advanced voice search capabilities via Android’s integration of Google Voice, allows users to locate business addresses, phone numbers, web sites, emails, advertisements, and other enhanced features. Zoom-and-scroll maps combine with GPS functionality to allow users to get driving directions to any business located on the map.

Using the menu button on all Android phones, listings may be sorted by relevance to locate premium advertisers, or by distance to find the closest businesses to the user via GPS. A toggle function, also located in the menu and on the app interface, allows results to be easily displayed in either a List or Map View version. Blackberry apps will be available later this summer.

According to McKnight, the introduction of these new applications brings the availability of directory information full circle. “This latest app is about providing our information in every type of medium possible for the age we live in. If you are in your kitchen, our print phone book is there. If you are on your computer, our online version is at your fingertips. Now, if you are out and about, your mobile device can deliver the same information with the touch of a button. All of these products compliment one another and give our users access to information no matter where they are in their day.”


Separately Valley Yellow Pages has also launched a free MyYP app which contains all of the information in print and online directories, plus features like click-to-call, driving directions and speech recognition capabilities.  You can also browse businesses’ websites and detailed profile pages, email them, and view their ads.   Valley directories are published annually and delivered to households and businesses in 46 different markets in Northern and Central California, reaching more than 14.8 million people. Valley Yellow Pages is the largest independent directory publisher in Northern and Central California and the third largest independent publisher in the nation.

“We want to ensure that as many Smartphone users as possible have access to the great local resources that MyYP apps provide,” said Sieg Fischer, president and CEO of Valley Yellow Pages.  “People really like how interactive the MyYP mobile apps are and find them to be incredibly easy to use everyday search tools.”

With the MyYP app, results are sorted by distance and users have the option of viewing search results by list or map view.  The interactive map navigation features zoom and scroll capabilities along with listings that automatically change based on the area of the map you’re focusing on.  Searches can also be made by voice using the app’s advanced speech recognition feature.

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