Don’t Trash the Phonebook is a campaign launched in Minnesota that aims to reduce unnecessary waste by allowing residents to recycle or opt out of receiving phonebooks. The program, launched in September 2010, acknowledges that, while many residents no longer use phonebooks and prefer to obtain contact information online, the disposal of phonebooks as trash is illegal in Minnesota. Don’t Trash the Phonebook provides environmentally conscious Minnesotans with information on how to opt out of receiving a phonebook, and where to recycle phonebooks. Though phonebooks can be recycled, only 15% of them are actually being recycled in Minnesota.
Just to highlight the benefits of this program, consider these statistics:
“Avoiding the production of a ton of phone directories is estimated to reduce air emissions by approximately 1.28 metric tons of carbon equivalent. It’s also estimated that avoiding the production of 500 books could save between 17 and 31 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy.”
No state has yet mandated that phone book publishers provide opt-out systems to make the option readily available to the public. Yet, on the first day Minnesota’s site debuted, 10,000 visitors viewed the website and the majority reportedly did opt out of receving a phone book.
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