In the United States, only 30% of the population uses the white pages phone books. So why do most of the U.S. states still require phone companies to deliver the thick books to every landline subscriber? I know this local SEO’er tosses his in the recycling bin every year.
The Internet Has the Answer
All the information that appears in a phone book is available online, in many convenient and accessible databases. As a result, 60% of adults use the internet to find contact information for people or businesses, instead of the printed white pages.
Here is the breakdown of where people are searching online for contact info:
- 29% use online directories
- 28% use search engines
- 3% use social networks
“Opt-In” is a Step Towards Eradicating
Fortunately, some states have provided the option for some or all of its residents to actually request if they would like a phone book, instead of having it automatically delivered. This year, Maryland will become the first state to enact a law that will require consumers to opt-in.
So far, the opt-in experiment is successful. One of the major telecom companies, AT&T, estimates that only 2% of its customers has requested a printed copy of the phone book where the opt-in is available.
If We’re Digitally Savvy, We Should Be Environmentally Savvy
The real issue here is not teaching people to use the internet, but to eliminate the wasteful production of books that aren’t being used.
The outrageous numbers tell the story. Each year:
- 5 million trees are cut down to produce white pages phone books
- 3.57 million tons of C02 are generated from producing and disposing phone books
- 165,000 tons of white pages phone books end up in landfills
- $17 million come from taxpayers pockets to recycle unwanted phone books
Here’s How You Can Help
By visiting http://www.banthephonebook.org/, you can sign a petition for lawmakers that has over 100,000 supporters, or join a Facebook fan page with over 9,000 fans to help spread the word.
Oh, and keep using the online directories and resources for contact info.