Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

YPA Releases Sustanability Report

The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) has released the industry’s first Sustainability Report to focus on environmental commitments, impacts and goals of major US industry players.

The report provides an overview of the industry’s sustainability efforts and outlines the organization’s goals for 2010 and beyond.

Of particular note in the report is a graph of what products do make up the waste stream headed to local landfills/incinerators:

The key message is that according to the EPA, when compared with other types of durable goods, telephone directories represent a very small percentage of the municipal waste stream.  Simply put, we’re not the problem that local governments need to be directing their attention to if they are truly looking to reduce their waste expense.

Other successes noted in the report include:

  • Launch of industry consumer choice programs ( to give consumers a single place to go to reduce or stop directory delivery;
  • Use by some companies of directory paper that contains recycled content and fiber derived from “residual chips,” (by-product after logs are converted to lumber) making it unnecessary to use new trees to produce Yellow Pages;
  • A 29% reduction in the use of directory paper since 2006, as a result of programs to reduce the size of directories, use of more efficient pagination systems and expansion to digital and mobile search products like Internet Yellow Pages sites and apps;
  • Implementation by some most publishers to soy-based inks and non-toxic dyes that pose little threat to soil or groundwater supplies and adhesives in the binding process that are eco-friendly and non-toxic; and
  • Support of recycling and up-cycling programs that ensure directories have a life after use, either as new paper or for other materials like coffee cup trays, egg cartons, cellulose insulation and cereal boxes.

Neg Norton, the President of YPA commented that “We’ve made so much quiet progress since we set environmental guidelines for the industry in 2007 in the areas of resource reduction, manufacturing, and recycling. There’s no better time than now to report to communities and consumers about the actionable steps we’ve taken and to outline where our industry needs to go.”

This report is a much welcomed first step for the industry to demonstrate it is in becoming more transparent and committed to product stewardship and sustainable business practices despite what the naysayers want to believe.