California Stops Automatic Delivery of the Phone Book

Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:13am EDT

Just weeks after San Francisco passed a law stopping the automatic delivery of telephone books, California regulators approved Verizon's request to end deliveries of printed white pages statewide.

The decision to go digital with residential listings is expected to save an estimated 1,870 tons of material from California's waste stream.

Verizon will continue to print and distribute the government white pages, the Yellow Pages and business listings.

The California Public Utilities Commission granted Verizon's request to provide customers with an online, electronic version of the white pages. Customers also can continue to receive the traditional printed volume by request. Or they can request a free CD-ROM directory of residential listings.

In October, 2010, Verizon asked the PUC to waive the existing requirement to deliver residential white pages in print format. The company noted that significant human and natural resources are expended annually to print and automatically distribute directories to customers who may not want or use them.

"The PUC's decision to allow Verizon to end the automatic delivery of residential white pages listings is good news for California consumers and the environment," says Tim McCallion, president of Verizon's West region.

An estimated 5 million trees are cut down each year to create white pages phone books, according to BanthePhoneBook.org. Furthermore, only 22 percent of recipients recycle their phone books, which are thought to add 660,000 tons of waste to US landfills each year.

Photo by Cathy Stanley-Erickson/flickr/Creative Commons

Reprinted with permission from Sustainable Business