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 “We encourage everyone to recycle their outdated phone directories or opt out of delivery if they prefer to search online.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:


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.

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

UK Recylcing Efforts Reach 10 Year Mark

While those that are opposed to any print Yellow Pages will insist the industry has been a later comer to eco-oriented business practices, an announcement today from the UK is just another illustration of why the exact opposite is true.

Paper and cardboard reprocessor Smurfit Kappa Recycling is proudly celebrating 10 years of recycling Yellow Pages directories into new packaging materials.  The company was one of the first UK companies to accept the telephone directories for recycling, a practice which had been going on even earlier in the US) and it is now reprocessing more than ever.

Environment manager Adam Billiald of the UK Yellow Pages publisher Yell (parent of the US based Yellow Book) noted in the press release that:

“…As a business committed to sustainability, it is important that residents can recycle their old Yellow Pages directories easily. For many years, the directories have been recycled into new products such as insulation materials, animal bedding, cardboard packaging and newsprint, proving that the Yellow Pages directory really is green….”

Congrats to Smurfit Kappa and Yell for achieving this milestone.

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.

Valley Yellow Pages Continues Tree Planting Program

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on March 18, 2010
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Next Tuesday, Valley Yellow Pages will be planting 50 new, much needed shade  trees at a Templeton elementary school, with hundreds of students participating in the event.

This is a continuing effort by Valley to demonstrate first hand that they are an environmentally conscious company.  Templeton has been selected as one of several communities around California where Valley Yellow Pages is planting trees.

Of note in the company press release was”

Virgin timber is virtually never used to make directory paper. The books are typically comprised of recycled materials with the remainder of the needed fiber provided by the residue of making squared boards out of round trees in the lumber-making process. 100% of the fiber is certified to come from sustainably managed forests. Directories are also produced with nontoxic glue and printed with inks containing soy and/or vegetable oils.

Kudos to Valley for this effort

Vermont Agrees To Combe Directories Again

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on March 15, 2010
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In a ruling which may show improvement in the classical disconnect between publishers wanting to update their print products and the local telephone regulatory bodies, the Vermont Public Service Board has reversed its ruling from 2005 that required SuperMedia (the local telco affiliated Yellow Page publisher) to separate the FairPoint Yellow Pages and the FairPoint White Pages directories in Vermont. The directories will be now combined into a single telephone directory beginning with distribution of new books in May.

As Todd Sanislow, regional vice president at SuperMedia noted in its press release (link):

“Consumers have been asking us to switch back for years.  It has long been our position that requiring us to publish separate White Pages and Yellow Pages directories was not the best solution, as it is less environmentally friendly and also put us at an unfair disadvantage with our competition. We are pleased to provide the convenience of having both Yellow Pages and White Pages listings in the same directory once again…..”

Local regulatory groups has traditional fought the elimination of residential white pages believing that if will increase the costs for local subscribers that need to access directory assistance/411 services to get listings information.

Critics of the industry claim that publishers are not being eco-oriented, yet they fail to understand that many of the publishers are required by law to publish the white page books.

We welcome the decision by the Vermont regulators and the efforts by SuperMedia to encourage residents to recycle outdated directories in curbside recycling containers. Those that don’t have curbside recycling, can click here to find a recycling center near them.  Those recycled directories can be used to make new paper or many products such as environmentally friendly cellulose insulation, packing material, animal bedding, compost, tissue-grade products, wallboard, envelopes, hydro-mulch and roll cores.

Kudos to Valley Yellow Pages on Haitian Relief Efforts

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on March 10, 2010
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Kudos to Valley Yellow Pages which raised $21,000 to help those in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this year. The company has also been encouraging other local companies to donate as well.

The Fresno-based company matched dollar for dollar the contributions made by 79 employees who donated through payroll deductions and vacation time pay.

Sieg Fischer, president and CEO of Valley Yellow Pages noted in the company’s press release that:

“This is an easy way that we can help those in desperate need and we challenge other local businesses to do the same.  With other events displacing the Haiti earthquake in the news, it’s important to realize that donations are still greatly needed, and whatever employees are able to give quickly adds up.”

The company indicated that all of the funds were sent directly to the Red Cross and Salvation Army, specifically marked for Haiti relief efforts.

Hawaiin Elementary School Rewarded for Recycling Efforts

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on November 3, 2009
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Kudos to Yellow Pages publisher – The Berry Company for recognizing the St. Joseph Elementary School with a check for $700 for first place in this year’s “Think Yellow, Go Green Telephone Directory Recycling Contest”.  The contest included over 50 schools from five neighboring islands (Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui and Molokai).

The school collected nearly 7,000 pounds of directories, the equivalent of more than 2,300 phone books. In total, Hawaii schools helped The Berry Company collect and recycle more than 105 tons of outdated directories during the 2009 contest.

Full article link here….

Yellow Pages Group Releases New ecoGuide

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on October 6, 2009
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The Canadian based Yellow Pages Group began inclusion of its new “ecoGuide” which is located within the first pages of the 2009-2010 Calgary Yellow Pages.  The ecoGuide was created in partnership with Earth Day Canada and The City of Calgary.   The guide, which is also available online at, is intended to be a local reference with helpful tips on responsible consumption.  It includes:

  • a directory to Reuse & Recycle covering more than 400 household items such as tires, computers, electronics, mattresses, carpets and smoke detectors) to be disposed of ecologically and a list of addresses of where to take them
  • a list of materials that are accepted/refused in recycling bins, along with details on the collection of green and hazardous domestic waste
  • 35 ecological certifications to help consumers make more responsible purchases
  • 15 simple ways to reduce our environmental impact (composting, tempering temperature reduce the water consumption, etc.) while saving fuel, electricity, water and of course, money.

The Recycle and Reuse directory should be a useful tool for residents to use in their daily efforts to support the environment.  For example, is a pizza box recyclable?  Apparently in some municipalities it is not, but it is accepted in The City of Calgary’s recycling program.

Kudo’s to YPG for this new consumer tool.  The full press release can be found here:

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