Yellow Pages Directory Inc. Supports National “Opt-In” Movement

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Yellow Pages Directory Inc. believes opting out from receiving bulky, wasteful paper yellow pages directories is a good start, but the greatest environmental benefit won’t be achieved until those who want to continue receiving paper telephone books must opt in.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that 840,000 tons of telephone directories went into the municipal waste stream in 2008.

Yellow Pages Goes Green wholeheartedly supports the “opt in” model because it offers the greatest potential for environmental preservation and benefit.

A recent “Green” networking event sponsored by the Long Island - Huntington chapter of Green Drinks International (greendrinks.org) was held at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York on June 28th. There, people interested in working toward the preservation and sustainability of our environment met over organic snacks, wine and live music to compare notes on their efforts and brainstorm new ideas. An informal survey of various attendees revealed that although few want to receive paper telephone directories, the books continue to appear on their doorsteps and from there are transferred to their recycling pails, eventually ending up clogging our landfills. Most agreed on the wastefulness of this practice, but few were aware that they could put a stop to at least a modicum of it simply by going online and opting-out from having the books delivered to their homes, most of which were actually folks already involved in the Green movement, thus their attending.

Yellow Pages Directory, Inc., is a staunch supporter of the opt-in movement to limit the delivery of printed telephone directories to those individuals and businesses who have actually requested them. Although the company continues to provide its users with a feature whereby they may choose to opt out from receiving traditional paper yellow directories simply by clicking “Opt-Out of Print” at the top of its site and following the prompts, the company realizes that the enormous amount of waste and environmental harm generated by the production, delivery and disposal of these books can best be stemmed by following the model of San Francisco, which recently passed legislation limiting the distribution of commercial phone directories to residences and businesses that have “opted-in” to receive them.

In a near-unanimous vote last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation creating a three-year pilot program which will restrict delivery of Yellow Pages books to those customers who either accept them in person or have given prior approval for delivery via telephone or mail. Although the City of Seattle passed an ordinance last year allowing residents to cancel their phone book deliveries by “opting out,” the San Francisco legislation, slated to take effect on May 1, 2012, is the first of its kind in the country to require “opting in,” and is expected to eliminate much of the seven million pounds of waste generated annually by paper yellow directories in the City by the Bay, at a cost to the taxpayers of $300 per ton for collection and recycling. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was quick to point out, however, that the San Francisco ordinance is not a ban on Yellow Pages books. Anyone who wants them may continue to request printed directories, and special outreach efforts will be made by the city to advise senior citizens and others who may lack Internet access on how to go about maintaining their Yellow Pages delivery.

Interestingly, and according to Forbes.com and KPLU news, a federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit brought against the City of Seattle by directory company Dex One, ruling that the city’s opt-out registry does not violate the company’s First Amendment right to free speech. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart wrote: "Because Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claim, because any First Amendment impact on the public is limited, and because the City and its residents have competing public interests in privacy and waste reduction, the court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that a preliminary injunction is in the public interest."

On the heels of this decision, phone book trade groups are now rallying in support of “opt out” provisions, realizing perhaps that San Francisco’s “opt in” legislation is only the beginning; similar green-friendly initiatives are in the works in jurisdictions from Maryland to California. "Yellow Pages Goes Green wholeheartedly supports the “opt in” model because it offers the greatest potential for environmental preservation and benefit.", said CEO Michael Keegan.

About Yellow Pages Directory Inc.
Provides an eco-friendly Internet-based alternative to printed telephone books as well as helps consumers optout of print directories. The online site helps customers reduce their environmental footprint by giving them a substitute for traditional print Yellow Pages directories, reducing their paper use. The company owns both YellowPagesGoesGreen.org as well as PaperlessPetition.org, both of which have contributed greatly through the years to today's general opt-out awareness in the United States. As an initiative for the promotion of green eco-friendly alternatives Yellow Pages Directory Inc. takes several added initiatives to minimize the impact it has on the environment with its own office space, computers, servers and web site hosting services. http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org

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Michael Keegan
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