indexA few months ago I came home to a soggy phone book in a plastic bag thrown into the bushes near my porch steps. I was surprised to receive a phone book since I don’t even have a landline. If you are like me, I threw the book straight into the recycling bin. Most of us remember a time when phone books were extremely useful before the internet. It is how we found friends’ or businesses’ phone numbers. But today most of us look up numbers online and have friends’ numbers saved in our phones.

So why do we still get phone books? Apparently companies have fought regulations to phase out phone books, specifically the yellow pages, because they contain ads that make these companies money.

According to the nonprofit, in order to print the over 500 million phone books every year distributed in the US companies use over:

  • 19 million trees;
  • 1.6 billion pounds of paper;
  • 7.2 million barrels of oil; and
  • 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Yuck! Thats a lot of resources to make something that often just gets thrown out.

In the end, municipalities pay millions of dollars to trash or recycle stacks of books. Several municipalities and states are fighting phone book deliveries but currently almost every household gets a phone book each year.

There is good news though. You can opt out by visiting

It is simple to do and will help the environment.


In the meantime, if you get an unwanted phone book delivered at your house, please remember to remove the plastic bag and then put your phone book in the recycling bin. Plastic bags cannot be recycled in Mount Rainier’s curbside recycling.