Since I’ve had internet access I haven’t unpacked my BT telephone directory or Yellow Pages. For the past few years they have sat unloved and unwanted in the corner of the office until the new one has come along to replace it.
When the new one arrived, I used to throw the old ones, complete with plastic packaging, into the dustbin.
Since setting ourselves a zero waste challenge my awareness has increased dramatically. Everything destined for the bin is examined for reuse possibility along with ‘Could I have made a better purchase in the first place?’ questioning.
My thoughts turned to the festering telephone directories in the corner of the room and I found myself wondering what the options were.
They just appear on the doorstep when you’re out and that’s it. You are left with the responsibility for disposing of it whether or not you want to.
BT Telephone Directories
I’ve found out that BT telephone Directories are easy to recycle. They can just go in with the magazines and newspapers (sans plastic wrapping of course).
Most areas in the UK have readily available recycling containers for paper and newspapers doted around and many areas have kerbside collections of paper. BT white telephone directories can be put in with these.
To reuse them, you can shred them up and add gradually add them to the compost heap. That might be a project to get the kids or hunky husband involved in!
I decided though that the best thing for me would be to stop them at source. I certainly would not have one delivered through choice – they are a totally wasted resource in this house.
I contacted BT through their website. It was very easy to send them an email ([email protected]) and within 24 hours I was sent the following response:
Thank you for your enquiry
I have now arranged for you to be taken off the delivery list, for you
to no longer receive a BT Phone Book
Well that was easy! If you prefer to call them, there is a freephone number at 0800 833400
Yellow pages are more tricky fellas to dispose of as the UK has different facilities depending on area.
You can put old Yellow Pages to good use by donating them to participating schools for the Yellow Woods Challenge. The Yellow woods challenge is run by the Woodlands Trust and local authorities across the UK. School design art projects with old Yellow Pages and are in with the chance of winning money for their school, along with donations to the Woodland Trust for tree planting.
Some councils accept Yellow Pages at the kerbside, some have recycling facilities at the local civic amenities site (ours go in with cardboard at our local site). In other areas the county council will take them back if you take them to their offices and in some areas Community Champions volunteer to be a drop off point for Yellow Pages.
Finding the information for your area can be tricky, but there is a database on the yellow Pages site, although I’m not sure how up to date it is.
Like the BT telephone book I decided that cancelling the Yellow pages was the way forward for us.
An email to Yellow Pages, sadly yielded no response. However, a friend of mine gave me a telephone number to stop them completely which is 0800 671 444. Her disclaimer was to be aware that they take some time to catch up on stop requests!
Changing the future?
The challenge with these directories is that there appears to be no centralised opt-out system like there is for junk mail.
According to the Say No to Phonebooks campaign, set up by 192.com, four out of five people no longer use printed phone books.
There is currently an online petition to call for an opt out system for all directories in the UK. 75,000 of tonnes of phonebooks are produced every year and many never make it out of the plastic before going straight back into the landfill. It’s estimated that only 60% of phonebooks actually get recycled.
Sign up and show your support here.
Let us know about the facilities in your area. Is it easy to recycle your Yellow pages or how have you got on with opting out of receiving them – has it worked for you?