Phone Books

With the availability of reliable, online search resources, many of us no longer need a phone book in our house. However, each year, more than 650,000 tons of phone books are delivered to households across the United States. A large percentage of these go unused. While a third of all phone books are recycled, 410,000 tons still find their way to landfills or incinerators, costing taxpayers about $60 million each year in management costs. Phone book recycling also presents operational challenges as directories are often distributed with materials that contaminate the recycling process (e.g., magnets and plastics). In addition, unused phone books represent a waste of natural resources (phone books contain on average 60% virgin paper), and the unnecessary production, transport, and recycling or disposal of paper emits greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.

What is PSI Doing on Phone Books?


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