Back to Search Green Pages: Myths

Is There Anything Green About Phone Books?

You bet there is!

There are many things about Valley Yellow Pages that are green. And we are continually looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact while offering consumers a valuable directory.

Truth About Yellow Pages

Trees and Yellow Pages green pages - divider

Trees are primarily harvested for lumber and used in housing and other building applications. The paper used in our phone books contains residual waste wood chips generated as a byproduct of converting a round tree into square, dimensional lumber.2

  • It is important to remember that trees are an infinitely renewable resource. That cannot be said about the resources used to create electronic equipment.
  • Four million trees are seeded daily in the United States. That’s five trees each year for every man, woman, and child in America.5
  • There are 12 million more acres of United States forestland today than 20 years ago. green pages - Wood for Chips

Phone books are 100% recyclable,3 they are easy to recycle and are not a significant part of the solid waste stream. Green Pages - Section Divider Green Pages - Kids Recycle
  • In fact, according to the EPA, DIRECTORIES comprise only 0.3% of the municipal solid waste stream, compared with 3.2% for Newspapers, 1.9% for Standard Mail, and 2.2% for High Grade Office Paper such as used in both commercial and residential printers.4

  • Inks used are 100% soy or vegetable oil-based and are biodegradable.

  • Glues used are non-toxic.

  • Phone books are recycled into many products such as new phone books, newsprint, insulation, acoustical ceiling tiles, drywall paper, and other paper products.

The process of recycling an outdated phone book couldn’t be easier. It’s as easy as placing it in a blue recycling can for curbside pick-up along with other recycling materials.

Generally, recycling centers gladly accept phone books and have no problem processing them further for recycling. Recycled Yellow Pages are then sold to other companies and turned into other products. And many people do recycle their old phone books when their new phone book is delivered.

While the internet provides a strong complement to the printed Yellow Pages, it is not necessarily free of environmental implications.4 Green Pages - Section Divider Green Pages - Stack of Computers

Let’s take a look...

  • E-waste represents about 25% of all waste in the U.S. landfills and 70% of toxic waste found there - Directories represent only 0.3%.
  • Only 14% of a computer’s components and materials can be recycled - Phone books are 100% recyclable.
  • Electronic waste in the U.S. amounts to three million tons and only 18% of that is recycled - 57% of all paper consumed in 2008 was recycled.
  • Web server data centers supporting the internet are using energy at an alarming 24% annual growth rate - U.S. paper and pulp industry has achieved a 42% reduction in energy use per product unit during the last 25 years.
  • About 62 trillion spam emails are sent every year. It takes energy to generate, screen and delete spam, contributing greenhouse gases equivalent to two billion gallons of gasoline.6 - That’s enough gas to power 8 million hybrid vehicles at 40 mpg 10,000 miles per year.
  • Americans throw out more than 130,000 computers and 350,000 cell phones everyday. The Yellow Pages are delivered once a year and are 100% recyclable.

Yellow Pages are used by consumers when they are ready to buy a product or service from local businesses. Green Pages - Section Divider

According to the most recent study by Burke, Inc: 8

  • 74% of people refer to the Yellow Pages every year.
  • 49% of people refer to the Yellow Pages every month.
  • 33% of people refer to the Yellow Pages every week.

Nearly 5 out of every 10 people use the Yellow Pages monthly. In the past year, there were 11 billion references to the printed Yellow Pages in the United States.

Yellow Pages give consumers a one-stop shop to find local business. Buying local protects local businesses which protects local jobs.

The small, independent business owners provide both tangible and intangible benefits that serve as the cornerstones of strong and vibrant communities. It is their personal service and presence that fosters the flow of local dollars to meet community needs.

Spending dollars locally ensures that 1% of the sales tax is allocated to local funding, used to pay for police and fire protection, local health clinics, zoos and parks, and children’s education. Green Pages - woman reading phone book

1. RR Donnelley, Environmental Performance Letter, April 2010. 2. May 3, 2011, Paul Gordon (VP Directory Sales) at Catalyst Paper Corp. 3. Yellow Pages Association, Lessening our Environmental Impact 4. NewPages Corporation. Ed Booklet #13 on Paper and the Environment, 2009. 5. Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, 2009 Facts and Figures, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 6. McAfee The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam Report 7. Down to Earth, International Paper Company 8. Burke, Inc., Local Media Tracking Study, May 2011.

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