Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Yellow Pages Industry Searches For Sustainability In The Digital Age
Yellow Pages directories were the print age equivalent of search engines. In a nod to the vernacular of the digital age, the industry these days is represented by the rebranded Local Search Association (formerly Yellow Pages Association), which is working to reduce paper usage and strengthen its Reduce and Recyle commitments as part of the industry's sustainability program.
Yellow Pages directories are big business. Approximately three million small businesses across the U.S. advertise with them. Recent research from Burke shows that 70 per cent of American adults use print Yellow Pages to find a local business or public services agency.
In order to mark America Recycles Day (Nov. 15), the Association has joined forces with Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization, to boost that commitment and further improve delivery choice options for consumers, recycling rates as well as reduce paper usage.
Yellow Pages waste paper currently contributes roughly 0.3 percent of paper and paperboard products to the solid waste stream, according to the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Municipal Solid Waste report. The governmental agency also said that directory recycling rates increased 15.5 percent over last year.
"Keep America Beautiful and consumers across the country are always looking for simple steps they can take to help protect our environment," said Becky Lyons, KAB's CEO. "We encourage everyone to recycle their outdated phone directories or opt out of delivery if they prefer to search online."
The organization says that by the end of 2012 Yellow Pages publishers will use 50 percent less paper they did at peak usage in 2007. This is thanks to changes in the size of directories, better manufacturing techniques, the Consumer Choice website and other initiatives. It adds that its directories are printed on papers manufactured from a combination of recycled paper waste and leftover scraps of sawdust and woodchips from lumber processes whenever possible. They also use soy-based and non-toxic inks, glues and dyes used in printing and production processes.
As one would expect these days, many consumers prefer to use digital, mobile devices to search for local businesses and access the services offered by the Association. In order to help them with that, the organization created a website called Yellow Pages Opt Out, offering a one-shop stop for costumers to decide which phone directories they would to receive or stop receiving altogether.
"YellowPagesOptOut.com and our sustainability programs are supported by directory publishers across the country and illustrate our ongoing commitment to not delivering a directory to people who prefer not to receive one," said Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association. "We look forward to working with Keep America Beautiful to help spread awareness and to develop other source reduction ideas."
The Association will be attending the Keep America Beautiful 58th National Conference on November 30 - December 2, 2011, in New Orleans. Association members AT&T Advertising Solutions, Dex One and Yellowbook will meet with Keep America Beautiful affiliate communities as part of the Association's Conference Collaborative, an initiative to unite member companies at key environmental and government conferences.
Image credit: Yello Pages Opt Out