Archive for December 14th, 2010

Have telephone books become extinct?

With all the technology that surrounds me, I no longer have a need for a phone book. Actually, I think it would take me longer to look up a number in a phone book than to find it on the internet. (A side from my personal opinion)…..From an environmental standpoint, about 19 million trees and 7.2 million barrels of oil are used annually in the production of phone books. This equates to a lot of resources being used in the production of an unwanted product.

It seems like the City of Seattle shares my sentiments.

Seattle is on the verge of passing the  nation’s first phone book “opt-out” law. The “opt-out” registry will be funded by publishers through a 14-cent fee for each book distributed. The publishers are upset that the law does not apply to other forms of media and the Yellow Pages Association offers its own “opt-out” option and disagrees with the city maintaining a separate registry.

Seattle officials state that the “opt-out” registry which will be managed by a third party will reduce clutter, increase residential security and save the people of Seattle, money.

Rodale.com  explains the nuts and bolts of the new ordinance

THE DETAILS: The Seattle city ordinance would require the various publishers of yellow pages phone books to establish a city-administered opt-out website so people can choose to receive which of the three business phone directories they want, or none at all. The publishers would also be required to pay a licensing fee to cover the cost of operating that site, as well as a $148-per-ton fee for any books that are delivered to residents; that fee is the amount it costs the city to recycle phone books. (The law doesn’t apply to standard residential phone directories, as Washington state law requires that phone companies publish those.)

Not surprisingly, publishers of yellow pages phone books aren’t happy about the new law. Two companies that publish the books, as well as an industry association, have sued the city on the grounds that it infringes on their First Amendment rights to free speech and being able to communicate with whomever they wish. Adding to their complaint, the industry association has already developed a nationwide opt-out site, so a second city-administered site would be redundant. And they’re concerned that, should other cities follow Seattle’s lead, multiple city-administered sites would just create confusion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The ordinance is still being debated in city courts, but it’s scheduled to take effect on January 1. Who will win remains to be seen, but it is a sign that city and local governments are increasingly weary of coping with cumbersome recyclables.

What do you think about Seattle’s new law? Should it be passed? How often do you use your phone book and would you opt-out of receiving one if  you could?

Source: Earth911.com

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