Yellow Pages Environmental Forum


Recycling Phone Books Into Packaging for Mushrooms

Who says Yellow Pages/phone books can’t be a valuable item to be recycled??

Here’s an interesting result from a recent Sustanible Packaging Leadership Awards held in Toronto on Earth Day, April 22nd.  At the event, Jim Downham, the President and CEO of the Packaging Association of Canada welcomed over 400 leaders in the packaging industry to recognize the very best in Sustainable Packaging.

A Bronze award went to Cascades which has been using recycled fibers from newsprint and Yellow Pages to create recyclable mushroom packaging. From their web site:

Category B – Raw Materials and Ancillary Services – Product

Bronze

Cascades Inc.
Cascades UltraTill Mushroom Packaging

In response to decreasing waste in landfills in the future, and as an alternative to plastics, Cascades developed a 100% recyclable mushroom package made entirely from recycled fibres, principally from old newsprints and phonebooks. The production of the mushroom package helps to divert 1.5 tons of recycled paper per day from being landfilled.

Welcome to AskMeAboutYP.com

Posted in Print Yellow Pages by Ken C on May 22, 2008
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In this weeks edition of YP Talk we asked people in the industry to send us stories about how the printed Yellow Pages made a real life impact on them. We are using a separate site for these stories and other information about the value of the Yellow Pages – the site is www.askmeaboutyp.com.

The stories have started to come in.  Here’s a new one from CS:

I asked my 23 year old daughter if she thought the yellow pages or internet helped her make buying decisions more frequently….

Katie’s response was the PRINT YELLOW PAGES!!! She had just returned from a vacation in Texas, an area she had never visited, she said they grabbed the yellow pages out of the motel and took it with them to tour the area and find restaurants and use the maps etc.  When staying in a hotel, most vacationers find it inconvenient to go to the lobby and use the guest computer.  Katie also said “when I use the internet I never know what I’m going to get for a search result, but when I look in the yellow pages, I KNOW I will find just what I am looking for.”

Now that is one intelligent girl……

Keep those stories coming…

Now it get’s personal

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on May 13, 2008
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You’ve seen them — bloggers who by virtue of the fact that they have a keyboard, an Internet connection, and half a brain can start spewing all kinds of inaccuracies across hyperspace. Among those I have seen:

  • Yellow Pages kills trees — Not true — see article on how paper is made (click here)
  • No one uses them — Not true, unless you consider nearly 14 BILLION look-ups last year to be “no one:
  • the Industry makes up the usage numbers — Not true unless you believe that all the research organizations that do research for a range of media have some compelling reason to ONLY bake the number for Yellow Pages
  • I don’t want one, I don’t use, I am offended you deliver one to my doorstep, — me, me, me. Please people, get a life. It’s just a phone book. It takes them longer to write their rants and complaints than it does to just recycle what they don’t want.

And so on and on. Usually I find the vast majority of these people are well intentioned but totally uninformed. Usually when presented with the facts, they will at least take the time to reconsider their position.

But now it’s getting personal. Case in point — this captain of commerce ignored all the facts presented and still ran this charming write-up: click here, but don’t do so on an empty stomach. He even went as far as to suggest everyone send me books they don’t want. Well, if they want to waste the postage and be even less eco-friendly, fine, I will gladly recycle any that show up. But you should note that the writer also closed his blog to further comments — hence, you now see the ugly side of the Internet, and it’s personal. Of course the other thing to note is the writer is hiding behind his site — you don’t know anything about who this, they don’t even have a formal mailing address, and it appears they are some local search engine marketing group (so of course there is no agenda there).

I hope all of you that read this have this key takeaway — these efforts are not going to go away, this industry in under siege, you livelihood will soon be under attack –> it’s time to start pushing back. All of us. Now. Because it’s starting to get personal….

If we put it on the Internet everyone will think its true.

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on May 8, 2008
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A recent statement from ReachLocal, the newest wanna-be provider of local search advertising to small businesses in the local search space, caught my eye (source) and I noticed it has also appeared on several other websites:

A recent study by comScore shows 60 percent of consumers have stopped using Yellow Pages print directories as their primary source of searching for local goods and services.

Really? Where did they come up with that study, because if it was real, believe me, it would have been all over the media wires. I checked with comScore, with the industry associations, with several publisher contacts and the common response: it is a complete fabrication (aka lie) and there is NO comScore data that backs up this claim.  Instead it may be a statistic drawn from an industry presentation which if you twist it five ways from Sunday could conceivably give you something like that.

But even if ReachLocal retracts these comments, the damage has been done because once you start propagating garbage like this across the Internet, everyone assumes its accurate just because they see it online. On top of that, at a time when the Yellow Page industry is trying to extend the high level of trust it enjoys from its print products and sales forces to now be offering multiple products across a range of platforms (the Internet being one of them), no one needs to have dumb things like this – it reflects badly on everyone.

When you see stuff like this, let me suggest the following:

  • First off, be a little skeptical, don’t assume information is true and accurate just because it is online.
  • Pay attention to the sources and presentation of this “information” to better gauge its overall quality
  • Try to determine who’s responsible for the site. If they will not reveal that information, I’m usually even more skeptical. Often the “About This Site” type links provide clues about the point of view, purpose, or bias of the site.
  • Look for an indication of how current the material is. My favorite example has been the PaperlessPetition group which has been soliciting opt-out requests for years and as far as we can determine, has never once contact a publisher.
  • If you know the information you are looking at isn’t correct, contact your senior leadership and/or legal group to find out what steps can be taken. This industry has built its reputation over a 125 year history. Let’s not give it up without a fight when stuff like this happens.

And let’s hope that ReachLocal corrects these erroneous comments with as much vigor as they promoted the inaccurate info to begin with.

Pepsi Cutting Plastic in Bottles

Posted in Misc Green News by Ken C on May 6, 2008
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In today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required), was an interesting story that Pepsi has moved to reducing the amount of plastic it uses in its non-soda drink bottles.  For example, the new half-liter (16.9 oz.) bottle will actually contain 20% less plastics than the one it is replacing.  The thickness of the bottle will be reduced from 23.5 grams to 18.6 grams.  The drinks affected are some of the Lipton ice teas, Tropicana juice, flavored Aquafina FlavorSpalsh and Aquafina Alive.

We bring this to the attention of Yellow Pages publishers because we mentioned in a recent post (A Bag is More Than a Bag) that Discovery Packaging was open to working with publishers on a reduced thickness delivery bag.  Sounds like a real opportunity to be an innovative market leader and more environmental oriented.

YPG connecting eco-friendly sellers with eco-conscious buyers

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on May 1, 2008
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Kudos to the Yellow Pages Group (YPG) which today announced the launch of a pilot project an “EcoFinder” directory section to promote businesses that provide environmentally-preferable products or services or that have leading environmental operational practices. Here is link to company press release.

During the month of May, residents of Laval, Saint-Eustache, Sainte-Thérèse, and Terrebonne, will receive the enhanced Yellow Pages with this new section. The introduction of this new section follow a recent YPG survey which revealed that 93% of Quebec residents thought the creation of a section like this was a good idea and 88% confirmed that they would like both a print and online version.

Who says that print Yellow Pages can’t be the preferred source for environmental oriented shopping information?? With it’s wide distribution in the community, you would have to believe that other publishers will also jump on this trend which further supports the value of Yellow Pages in these environmentally sensitive times…