Stopping receipt of unwanted phone books can help you declutter your home and save trees a lot of trees, since 1.6 billion pounds of paper are used to make the 500 million phone directories distributed int he U.S. annually.
Now, San Francisco, a perennial leader in going green, is making that simple step law. The Board of Supervisors approved first-in-the-nation legislation to prohibit, for three years starting in May 2012, the distribution of phone books to households that had not requested them or approved of the delivery. Residents must "opt in" to delivery now, either by responding to a request by phone, by mail, by sticky note left on a front door, or by agreeing in person when a delivery person knocks. Seattle has a law with similar intent that allows residents to opt out of delivery by putting their names on "do not distribute" lists.
The new law supports San Francisco's ambitious goal of producing zero waste by 2020. (The city already claims to recover 77% of waste through recycling, composting and reuse programs.) The bill now goes to Mayor Edwin Lee's office
If you don't live in San Francisco or Seattle, you can still request that your name be taken off phone book distribution lists at www.YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, or by contacting your local provider.
Remember, if you do have phone books lying around, recycle them... or draw inspiration from our list of 17 creative ways to reuse phone books.
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