Can I recycle my phone book?
Recently I talked about the most popular type of paper discarded, corrugated boxes. Over 30 million tons of corrugated boxes are disposed of each year. After talking to some great people here at the AROW (Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin) Conference, I thought I would take a quick look at the other end of the spectrum: phone books.
Each year directories make up 3/10 of 1% of our paper waste, according to the EPA. While it is relatively a small amount of what we discard, like all small things, the directories do add up. Approximately 500 million directories, which includes everything from the big directories you get delivered to your home down to the little directory your school or organization prints for its members, are printed every year. Therefore, it is very important to know that your phone book is completely recyclable.
Reduce. If you wish to no longer receive phone directories, contact the companies to have your name removed from their mailing lists. There are many ways of accessing the information, like apps for your cell phone and the like.
Reuse. I’m not sure about reuse strategies for phone books. Maybe a foot rest? Wrapping paper? Just a thought.
Recycle. Phone books are completely recyclable. If you are one of the 77% of Americans who do use a printed copy of the Yellow Pages to get your information, remember its final resting place is in your blue bin. The industry has worked to make sure that everything about the book is recyclable. Do your part to get it in the bin.
Rebuy. According to the Yellow Pages, they produce directories from recycled paper waste and wood fiber waste. Using recycled paper helps create strong recycling markets. Do your part and purchase paper made with recycled content (post-consumer is best!).