No Yellow!

Honolulu Weekly - February 15, 2012

Year after year, residents of Honolulu–and cities all over the world–open up their doors to find an unsought pile of wood pulp that has become increasingly obsolete over the years: the yellow pages. A small percentage of people may continue to make use of the phone book (the elderly, people stuck in business waiting rooms and pay phone frequents), but, as internet culture has evolved, so has the way that people get their information.

For this reason, several committee chairs of the Hawaii State Legislature–Sen. Rosalyn Baker, Sen. Mike Gabbard and Rep. Denny Coffman–are encouraging those of us who have no need for phone book directories to request that they not be delivered through a very simple online process.

“Hawaii residents recognize the importance of being good stewards to our beautiful environment,” said Gabbard in a recent statement. “This website, [YellowPagesOptOut.com], provides everyone with choices, so that phone books are only delivered to those that want them.”

The online process is quite simple and takes only a few moments. Residents can choose which directories they would like to receive, or choose not to receive any at all. Most Honolulu residents receive four different directories each year.

The phone book directory industry claims to have little, if any, environmental impact, citing the use of recycled post-consumer use paper and wood chips in their manufacturing. But how much energy is used to make the phone books? How much energy is used transporting them to every front door in the country? The ridiculous blanket distribution of something considered little more than a paper weight for most people doesn’t seem to be missed in forward-thinking San Francisco, which has passed legislation effectively banning the distribution of phone books to anyone who has not explicitly requested one.