Admit it. You have at least one outdated telephone book lying around the office, or hiding in a drawer at home collecting dust. Sometimes we take brand new phone books out of the plastic wrap, put them away, and promptly forget about them. You’re probably keeping it nearby for that “just in case” moment that, let’s be honest, never comes around. With so much information available online, having a print copy of the telephone book just seems antiquated.
Want the phone number to the local pizza place? Just look it up on Google, or on the Yellow Pages Online at www.yp.com. Both services even have apps now for your smart phone! Don’t want to type? Lift up your phone and ask Siri, or give a shout to Alexa on your Amazon Echo. Within milliseconds you’ll have an answer, minus the gray smudges on your fingertips. Personally, I haven’t used a real phone book in years, maybe even a decade.
Even with a decrease in demand for printed versions of the telephone book, those yellow phone books still manage to show up. Thankfully, you can opt-out of receiving the phone book altogether by registering at the National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice and Opt-Out Site www.yellowpagesoptout.com. Yes, the people that publish the phone book have a program for the public to stop receiving the paper version of their product as part of their sustainability efforts. It’s free and easy to register, just enter your zip code to get started.
Ready to get rid of your old phone books? The best option is to recycle them along with other mixed paper you may have at home or at work. Mixed paper is accepted for recycling in our community thru the City of Dalton Curbside Recycling program, at four Convenience Centers in Whitfield County, and at local schools that have the yellow and green Target Recycling containers.
To prepare your paper phone books for recycling, remove the plastic bag, plastic wrap, and any sticky residue that may be on the cover. Did your book come with a magnet? Be sure to remove it too, and toss it. If you’re feeling crafty you could upcycle the magnet. Glue a photo on top of the magnet where the advertisement is, and stick that on your refrigerator door. Plastic bags can be recycled with plastic shopping bags at local retail stores. Just look for the plastic bag recycling bins at the front entrance.
If you’re not ready to recycle your stack of telephone books, you could always reuse them. Here are ten ways to reuse or upcycle the phone book.
- Clean Windows: Use the pages as window wipes, just like you would use a newspaper. Instead of using a commercial window cleaning solution, use the eco-friendly mix of half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle.
- Line Animal Cages: Tear out pages of the phone book and use them to line the bottom of cages for small animals. Small turtles, snakes, rodents, and birds could all benefit for this type of reuse.
- Wrap a Gift: Tear out the number of pages needed to wrap the gift completely, then tape together to make one large sheet. Personalize the gift wrap by painting it or adding a bright colored ribbon.
- Create Art: Grab your paints, markers, and pens and use the phone book pages as the backdrop for some art. The small text in the background will give an interesting effect.
- Press Flowers: Preserve flowers or leaves by placing them in the middle of the phone book. Add pressure by placing more phone books on top, and let the items dry for several weeks.
- Weed Blocker: You may have laid newspaper pages and covered them with mulch to block weeds in your garden. Pages from the phone book may be smaller but can work just as well.
- Eliminate Odors: Put several pages of crumpled up phone books pages inside boots or gardening shoes overnight to absorb moisture and help eliminate odors.
- Ripen Fruit: Speed up the process of ripening tomatoes and pears by wrapping them in individual pages. Store them in a cool dry place until ripe.
- Make Compost: Phone book pages are classified as “browns” for composting just like newspaper, cardboard, paperboard and dry leaves. Shred them before adding them to your compost pile outside or your bin. Do not include any pages that are glossy.
- Booster Seat: Take a stack of two or more phone books, and tape them together. Wrap them with Contact Paper, or completely cover with packing tape to make it strong and somewhat waterproof.