Since many publishers distribute new phone books around this time of year, we thought this would be a great opportunity to remind our readers that recycling your old phone books is a great way to stay green and actually make a difference.

There are some staggering statistics available that talk about phone book recycling…here are a few that stick out:

1. If Americans were to recycle their phone books this year, we would save around 650,000 pounds of paper, and free up roughly two million cubic yards of landfill space. With landfills being filled and expanded so rapidly these days, it’s easy to see how this would make an impact.

2. For every 500 phone books recycled, we save

  • 7k gallons of water
  • 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 17 to 31 trees
  • 4,100 kilowatts of electricity

Though sometimes it can be difficult to find someone that will actually recycle phone books, most cities and towns have some sort of program that they offer to accomodate phone book recycling. The reason that your average recycling plant doesn’t take them is because the paper used to make the thin pages of phone books is very short-fibered, and if mixed with other “regular” paper recycling, it can actually contaminate it.

On the contrary, phone books are very recyclable, and most of all they’re used to create new phone books. They’re also used to create roofing shingles, cereal boxes, home insulation, bathroom tissue, and much more.

To learn how to recycle your older phone books, or to organize a community collection, the easiest way to get more information is to call 1-877-88RECYCLE (1-877-887-3292). The Keep America Beautiful foundation has teamed up with major phone book publishers to make sure that customers get in the habit of recycling their outdated phone books.

Alternatively, you can check out this page, which has a zip code locator that will tell you which phone book recylcing programs are availabe in your area.

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