According to the article below, on February 1 of this year San Francisco began a 3-year pilot program which levys a $500 fine on leaving an unsolicited phone book outside an unanswered door.
The Yellow Pages association is suing, claiming this program violates their first amendment rights.
The thing is, we can all feel better recycling the books, but recycling takes energy too, and money. In Seattle, who proposed an ordinance against unsolicited delivery earlier, it takes 5 million trees just to create the white pages, and 17$ million tax dolalrs to recycle them. The driving emissions for delivery, the trees wasted in production, the energy in production, and the overwhelmingly antiquated function make Phone Books utterly insignificant in this age.
San Fransisco has not yet been sued. Seattle was sued when it attempted to basically bill the Yellow Pages for all the recycling costs it was creating. Unfortunately, I can see where this would break the first ammenment. I am left to wonder, how is it that when everyone seems in general agreement that phone books are rarely used anymore, that businesses are still paying to be advertised in them? Perhaps the focus should go on them. I agree that the phone books should have only an opt-in program instead of the inconvenient opt-out (usually after it’s too late) one, but perhaps encouraging businesses not to participate would be a better option.
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