Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why Won't Phone Books Die?

This Slate article tackles the question, which is one I have pondered for a long time.

In Portland, Ore., alone this year, the Dex directories tipped the scales at 10.5 pounds per pair, consumed the equivalent of 49,779 trees, and could be stacked nearly 12 miles high into the stratosphere. And that's just one of several directories that Portlanders receive. On a national level, the figures become mind-boggling. If we assign the not-terribly-scientific figure of just more than three pounds to the average directory, then the 615 million volumes produced last year come out to 1 million tons of phone books. Still, the Yellow Pages Association claims that phone books produce only 0.3 percent of the household waste stream—while "newspapers, in comparison, represent 4.9%." Alas, customers ask for newspapers, and they do offer an opt-out—it's called canceling your subscription.

Also, make sure to click the article's first hyperlink, to watch the Dutch Mythbusters try to pull apart two phone books that have been interleaved together.


Post a Comment

<< Home