‘Say No To Phonebooks’ welcomes Yell’s concession as the Local Government Association joins the anti-phonebooks lobby

~ Yell reduces directory size as the LGA support an end to the phonebook ~

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The ‘Say No To Phonebooks’ campaign, sponsored by 192.com, is claiming two victories this week with the Local Government Association (LGA) declaring ‘war on pointless phone directories’ and Yellow Pages announcing that its directories will be smaller in future.

With 7,700 signatures already obtained on the ‘Say No To Phonebooks’ Downing St e-petition, the LGA is calling on the public to opt-out of receiving phonebooks to reduce the £7.5 million that’s spent on their collection and disposal. Tax payers and local government are making a stand against this illegitimate waste of council funds.

At the same time, Yellow Pages has announced a change to its directories, the most significant in 40 years, which will shrink the directory five centimetres in height and four centimetres in width, whilst retaining the same number of pages. The reduction in size has no doubt come about as a response to public disquiet about the environmental impact that phonebooks have.

This should reduce the annual waste produced by Yellow Pages directories by a third, however, independent research indicates that 41% of households no longer use printed directories at all. If just this 41% were to no longer automatically receive phonebooks it would save 25,420 tonnes of annual waste that currently needs to be managed by local councils. This is almost four times the saving of Yell’s directory resize and therefore would be significantly more beneficial to the environment and the tax payer, without any impact to consumers. These figures don’t take into account the energy, oil and water that are wasted in the production, delivery and recycling process.

For this reason, ‘Say No To Phonebooks’ campaigners believe Yell and the LGA haven’t gone far enough and maintain that all printed directories, including those from Yell, BT and Thomson Local, should be available on request and not delivered automatically.

Furthermore, Yell has claimed that the new size of its directories will make them small enough to fit through letter boxes. If this is the case, ‘Say No To Phonebooks’ campaigners would like clarification as to whether Yell will respect ‘No Junk Mail’ stickers on letter boxes, something that it seems to currently ignore.

Dominic Blackburn, Product Director, 192.com said, “We are finally starting to see directories reluctantly take notice of the ‘Say No To Phonebooks’ campaign particularly as local government weighs in on the debate. However, we must not to be placated by piecemeal moves towards a more environmentally friendly solution.

People need to make their voice heard and sign the Downing St e-petition against phonebooks so that we can get the outdated system changed once and for all”.

Those that believe that a government trying to reduce unnecessary waste and energy consumption should start with the millions of unwanted phonebooks that are delivered each year should sign the e-petition on the Downing St website (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/NoPhonebooks/) before the 31st March 2010.

Campaign supporters can also follow activity on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Find out more at www.saynotophonebooks.org.

About the Say No To Phonebooks Campaign

‘Say No To Phonebooks’ calls on the government to establish a centralised opt-in system for phonebooks therefore reducing the environmental impact of producing, delivering and clearing up the waste created by unwanted phonebooks. So far the petition has over 7700 signatures. For full figures of the environmental impact of the 75 million phonebooks that are delivered annually in the UK please visit www.saynotophonebooks.org

About 192.com

192.com is the UK’s most awarded online directory, helping find people, businesses and places for millions of users every month. On 192.com, users can search almost 700 million records including free directory enquiries, edited electoral roll information, local business listings, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property prices.

There is an obvious conflict of interest here as far as the campaign being run by 192.com in that this directory is an online business and charges for a more in-depth search and the general paper directories are free – well, sort of. However, who wants those big paper things still?

On the other hand though we must not forget that there are still people in Britain, as well as in the USA and Canada, though the latter two are not part of this, that do not have computers and the Internet. Many older people, for instance, have neither computer nor Internet and could end up being discriminated against and having to pay to find a phone number.

So, while it may seem a very nice green idea and one that would save trees from being turned into, for many people nowadays, useless books, that have to be recycled somehow afterwards and often do not get recycled but end up in landfill sites, it may leave a number of people disadvantaged and out of pocket.

We have to look at this very, very carefully, methinks.

© 2010