Mayor Webb: Yellow Pages Have a Good Story to Tell

Wellington E. Webb, who served as Mayor of Denver from 1991-2003, continues his series on the importance of raising visibility for our industry’s national consumer choice website,, which enables local residents and businesses to easily determine whether or not they want to receive directories. Here is the third post in Mayor Webb’s series.

As I mentioned in my last post, Yellow Pages are the subject of proposed regulations in some cities and towns across the country.  Certain local elected officials may wish to ignore this – but the fact is that Yellow Pages companies have a good story to tell.  When it comes to sustainability and the environment, the industry is already making great strides by reducing waste, using recycled materials, promoting awareness, and more.

For example, paper usage for directories has decreased 50% since 2007, thanks to changes in directory sizes, more efficient manufacturing, reduction in residential white pages and  When available, Yellow Pages publishers are using recycled newspapers, old phone books and leftover woodchips from the lumber industry to make directory paper – and they are printing with vegetable-based ink that poses no danger to ground water and binding directories with non-toxic adhesives.

We already know that Yellow Pages are among the most recycled materials – and the industry is actively encouraging recycling. Yellow Pages today include print recycling information on the front of directories. Publishers also support local public and private recycling programs that redirect materials from municipal waste streams for reuse. The industry’s strategic partnerships in communities across the country enable directory materials to be reused for innovative products that help grow the local economy.

The industry’s efforts are making a difference. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency found that the paper category – which includes newspapers, directories, and other mechanical papers – maintains a high recycling rate of 71.6%. And with more than 9,000 curbside recycling programs across the country, 87% of Americans can recycle their used directories, according to the Paper Industry Association.

Not to mention, Yellow Pages publishers already taken serious steps to cut back on the number of unused directories, including coming together as an industry to create, a free and easy-to-use opt out website where customers can control the delivery of directories to their home.

Yellow Pages not only help local economies, create jobs, and sustain diverse local cultures, but they also reduce energy usage by encouraging consumers to buy closer to home. In this era of increased awareness of environmental issues, these are things that the industry should celebrate and be proud of – and we need to get the word out.

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