Recycling Phone Books

It’s phone book time again- What happened to the day where you only recieved 1 phone book. In the last 6 weeks, I have had 3 delivered to my door. Guess what, I don’t even have a land line! To be honest with you, I do use a phone book, and I always keep 1 in my car, but I don’t need to have a new phone book every year.

I just gotta Tell Ya

  • 540 Million phone books are given out each year
  • Phone Books make up for 660,000 tons of trash every year.
  • Nationally only 18% of phone books are recycled every year.
  • Americans recycled their phonebooks for a year, we would save 650,000 tons of paper and free up two million cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Each 500 books recycled, we save:
  • 7,000 gallons of water
  • 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 17 to 31 trees
  • 4,100 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power an average home for six months

Can’t Recycle- then ReUse

  • Use to start a fire in your fireplace
  • Use as mulch in your garden to keep weeds down
  • Resell to Lifelong collector Gwillim Law sells old phonebooks from all 50 U.S. states as well as from most Canadian and Australian provinces.
  • Use as a booster seat for a child.
  • Press flowers

Where to Go For Addresses and Phone numbers

Where to go to Recycle

  • Earth 911 – recycle your old phonebooks (if you have curbside recycling, just toss them in there).
  • 1-800-953-4400 to find a local place to recycle your phone books.
  • Keep America Beautiful– type in your zip code to learn how to recycle your outdated phone book or call 877.887.3292
  • Project ReDirectory –at 1-800-953-4400 for a bin near you.

Where to Opt Out of Recieving Phone Books

  • AT&T/YellowPages (formerly SBC and Bell South): 1.800.792.2665Verizon (Idearc): 1.800.888.8448Dex: 1.877.243.8339Yellow Book: 1.800.373.3280 or 1.800.373.2324YellowPagesGoesGreen – enter your info here to get your name off the mailing list.

Great Ideas!

Erie, PA-

  • features information about how recycling phone books in Northern Pennsylvania can not only create new insulation, but proceeds will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. Erie Energy Products is donating one cent per pound recycled to the food bank, which has been recycling phone books in Erie for 13 years. The project takes place thanks to a $5,000 grant from Idearc Media, and allows phone books to be recycled at 10 locations through January 31.


  • For every 355 Reno/Sparks/Carson City phone books recycled, 17 trees, 6,953 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil and enough landfill space to occupy a Volkswagen Beetle are saved, according to statistics gathered by AT&T Real Yellow Pages.For every ton of phone books recycled at one of the listed participating park or municipal locations between Monday and Dec. 31, AT&T and the Arbor Day Foundation will donate 17 trees to local parks as a way to symbolize the number of trees saved through recycling.


  • Office Depot has a recycle as you shop promotion, through Feb. 2009. You can also recieve a coupon for $10.00 off!

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  1. kenc says

    You use the books, but don’t wanted an updated one each year?? How would you know about changes in businesses or new businesses in your area??

    You only received one book when AT&T was the monopoly phone company. It’s the same reason you can pick from among 100’s of TV stations not just 3, dozens of car companies not just 2 or 3, and so on and so on. Free market enterprise.

    And one of your facts is wrong. The industry doesn’t knock down any trees for their paper. Let me repeat that – they don’t need to cut any trees for their paper supply. Currently, on average, most publishers are using about 40% recycled material (from the newspapers and magazines you are recycling curbside), and the other 60% comes from wood chips and waste products of the lumber industry. If you take a round tree and make square or rectangular lumber from it, you get plenty of chips and other waste. Those by-products make up the other 60% of the raw material needed. Note that these waste products created in lumber milling would normally end up in landfills. Not only that, as wood chips decompose, they emit methane, a greenhouse gas closely associated with global warming. for more go here:


  2. says

    I received this comment from Ken, Please go to his and check out the process, very interesting and informative. Thank you Ken for the update and info and you are right, the best source for updates is the phone books, and I have found that online sources are not quite as good as the phone book. I just don’t want 3 books, and didn’t know how to stop them. (which is why I wrote the blog) I keep 1 book and put the old book in my car, for reference, and recycle the old one.

  3. says

    Thanks for useful advices, I also don’t need new phone book every year, so I dont know what to do all these phone books, I have a lot of them at home, so I am going to follow your advice.

  4. says

    Recycling cell phones helps the environment by saving energy and keeping usable materials out of landfills. Cell phones and PDAs are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics-all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Recycling conserves these materials so they can be turned into new products.Cell phones contain toxic metals that can pollute the environment and threaten human health. When recycled responsibly, the metals can be put back into circulation, decreasing the need for new metal mining.Cell phone collection programs can be accessed from almost everywhere in the US. Many organizations, such as cell phone manufacturers, retailers, network carriers, charities, and state or local solid waste programs offer cell phone donation and recycling programs.

  5. Alison says

    I just picked up and recycled almost 500 phone books in my neighborhood that had been put out for trash collection. Why do the phone companies still print so many when most people use the internet to find information? Why don’t they send a flier out to every residence (1 sheet of paper as opposed to thousands) with a phone number to call if you want a phone book sent to you? Not only would it save the environment, but the phone company would save millions!

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