Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

“Green.” What’s the Problem?

Posted in Misc Green News by Ken C on July 16, 2008
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Sure, everything you see, read, and hear is about “going green”, being “eco-friendly”, “environmental consensus”, etc. etc. etc. But the bad news is that the average consumer doesn’t have a clue what that really means.

The Shelton Group, a Knoxville, TN based ad agency that is suppose to specialize in energy efficiency and sustainability (now there’s a new twist), recently conducted a national study, the “Eco Pulse”, which asked consumers open-ended and multiple-choice questions about green issues. The findings suggest there is a whole lot of confusion out there.

Some of the major findings:

  • Name which features a home would need to have before they would consider it green? 42% said they didn’t know.
  • While 49% of respondents said a company’s environmental record is important in their purchasing decisions, only 21% used that information when making a product decision. Even worse, only 7% could name the product they purchased.
  • “Given a choice between your comfort, your convenience or the environment, which do you most often choose?” Surprise (NOT). Most Americans put their personal comfort ahead of the environment – 46% chose comfort and 31% chose the environment.
  • We love the media — 40% admitted to negative or ambivalent responses (“skeptical,” “irritated,” “guilty” or “unaffected”) to increased media attention regarding our impact on the environment
  • We only do it to make us look better — when asked why most companies that adopt environmentally friendly practices do so, the most common response (47%) was “to make their company look better to the public.”

The message from this study is it is still early in the development of what “green” is or should be. It does offer all Yellow Page publishers an opportunity to make their print and IYP products a source for the valuable information consumers will need.


Green Pages In the Print Yellow Pages

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on July 9, 2008
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Kudo’s to AT&T for a new partnership with Hutchinson, KS’s “Green Team” (link to full story). A proposal will go before the Hutchinson City Council for final approval next week for a four-page insert listing area recyclers, educational information about recycling, Web links and more in the upcoming December edition of the Reno County (KS) area directory .

The Green Team is a group of city staff and citizens who are working on recycling issues in the town, and the Green Pages project was born out of the Team’s desire to update a Reno County recycling brochure that was distributed by the health department nearly a decade ago.

Because they “didn’t want to print a bunch of material that would end up in trashcans” (Meryl Dye, Green Team member) the group approached the AT&T yellow pages about having green pages. In exchange for the green pages inclusion on the AT&T phone book, the Green Team will promote the AT&T’s sponsorship of the project.

Because the book is provided to every house hold in the area, the local government can be assured that residents have ready access to the recycling information they need.

And all this in a printed Yellow Pages.

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.

Publishers Are Making Efforts to be Green

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on April 10, 2008
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While many of the bloggers and other phone book haters don’t want to believe it, the Yellow Page industry has once again stepped up its efforts to be even more environmentally friendly.

Even though the industry uses no virgin trees to make its paper (earlier post here), water soluble inks, and glues that allow the entire book to be recycled, now the Yellow Pages Association (YPA), in concert with the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), announced formal Joint Environmental Guidelines for the directory publishing industry.

Already the guidelines have been adopted by most  major publishers representing some 90+ percent of the industry output.  The Guidelines focus on source reduction of directories (white and yellow), enhanced recycling programs and environmentally sensitive manufacturing practices.

So DO NOT believe the many bogus blog posts you read that the industry is responsible for cluttering landfills (directories are only about .3% of the total waste stream), that we are wasting precious resources (publishers use on average about 40% recycled content in their paper), or that they will not allow people to opt out of their products.  It just ain’t true.

But those so vehemently insist THEY don’t want a book — how are you going to find that local computer repair store when your PC is busted????  Maybe you should keep at least one of those print “dinosaurs” around just in case.

Printed Yellow Pages As An Environmental Source

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on April 1, 2008
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Your kidding?  Those books that appear magically at people’s door steps that so many Techno-snobs claim they never use??  Here’s just a few recent examples:

From the Red Bluff Daily News, in  Red Bluff,CA:  The Tehama County Green Pages, located under “recycling” in the AT&T Yellow Pages, provides the answers for most recycling questions. The Green Pages offer tips on how to dispose of items such as appliances, used books, clothing, computers and electronics, fluorescent bulbs, furniture, construction and demolition materials, old records, tapes and CDs, Styrofoam and household chemicals. It also shows residents what to put in their recycling bins.

From a blogger in New York City:  how to recycle cardboard — “Step 6: Check with your county’s department of public works to find out about local curbside recycling programs and community drop-off centers, or look under ‘Recycling’ in the Yellow Pages.”

 A Raleigh, NC blogger:  “Wow, talking about getting off the subject, I wish there were more places to take cans and such near by. I looked in the Yellow Pages and there are a lot of compaines. …”

 Yellow Page publishers — you have a valuable resource which is in every home in your area, and it has tons of valuable information.  Please let people know about it!!!!!!!!!!!

Consumers Giving Up ‘Convenience Packaging’ to Help Environment

Posted in Misc Green News by Ken C on March 17, 2008
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Some new research from The Nielsen Company just caught my attention — more than half of U.S. consumers would give up all forms of packaging provided for convenience purposes if it would benefit the environment.

  • 58% feel that packaging designed for easy stacking/storing at home is dispensable
  • 55% would give up packaging that can be used for cooking, or doubling as a re-sealable container
  • 53% don’t need packaging designed for easy transport

Another interesting finding in the research was the range of attitudes toward packaging in different parts of the world.  For example:

  • Almost 60% of Europeans and North Americans are willing to give up packaging designed for stacking and storing at home — but only 42% of Asians would be willing to give up these types of convenience packaging
  • New Zealanders are the nation most prepared to give up all packaging aspects for the sake of the environment

Specific observations from U.S. households that Yellow Page publishers need to take note of:

  • Nearly 80% of consumers make a point of combining shopping trips to save gas most, if not all of the time — hello Yellow Pages.  Sounds like a marketing opportunity to me
  • More than half of U.S. consumers claim (I added the emphasis on “claim”) to recycle cans, bottles and/or newspapers all the time  — hello Yellow Pages.  Sounds like some recycling information in the front of the book is a requirement to make the print product even more valuable
  • About 40% of consumers will sometimes think to look for products with less packaging —  hello Yellow Pages.  Sounds like an opportunity to highlight more eco-friendly businesses in both print and online products

Green is Business

Posted in Print Yellow Pages by Ken C on February 11, 2008
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Eco-friendly, environmental. “green” — its all main stream business now.  If you need further verification just pick up today’s Wall Street Journal — go to the last section, section R, labeled Energy – The Journal Report (link, subscription required) where you can find 16 pages of articles ( and of course advertising) on subjects such as cutting energy usage, oil/gas production in Arctic, venture capital money pouring into clean-energy companies, etc. etc. etc.

And I didn’t find anything pro or con about Yellow pages anywhere in the articles.

Eco-friendly Undies for Valentine’s Day??

Posted in Misc Green News by Ken C on February 11, 2008
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Everything seems to a “green” twist now.  Why not romantic undies.

Just in time for Valentines Day an eco-friendly British company called “Green Knickers” offers panties made from 60% hemp and 40% silk.  And if you order now they will arrive in “fair trade recycled gift box”.   The link to their site:


What heading would you find these under in a print Yellow Pages, “environmental” or “womens lingerie”???

How Green Do You Want to Be

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on February 5, 2008
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Came across this little test from, a website that says it is the “…consumer guide to the green revolution…”.

Here’s the link to the test:

It’s light hearted, but clearly designed to provide you with an indication of how you are doing against the rest of the green movement.

Take the test. Let me know what your score is.