Nature conservationists have been concerned about the Yellow Pages for some time now. People have mentioned that the low-grade glues used in phone directories make them difficult to recycle. In fact, they are said to often clog the machinery at recycling centers. San Francisco's attempt to ban them has become somewhat famous.
One of the most interesting aspects of the debate is how long it took post-consumer content recycling to catch on. Only 27 percent of all solid waste in the USA was recycled in 1996. Communities have certainly instituted very comprehensive recycling programs, but these are understandably quite expensive. Indeed, recycling isn't viable in certain industry. Interestingly enough, recycling on behalf of industrial consumers is huge and old.
Producers of raw materials often gather up their surplus or defective wares and have them turned into something else. This was going on long before anyone implemented recycling programs that focused on individual consumers.
Paper recycling is naturally a large part of the industry. Much of the debate surrounding the Yellow Pages can easily be applied to newspapers. Newspapers take up a substantial amount of space in landfills. Recycling programs have long sought to collect newspapers, but it's always better to reduce consumption in the first place. Newspapers are an interesting topic in their own right.
Quite a few people have commented on the condition of newspapers in the Internet era. They claim that they are dieing. However, one could honestly make the case that newspapers have been on the decline since the rise of radio many decades ago. Radio technology allowed people to receive news freely in their homes without having to spend any additional money. Naturally, no one had to drive to listen to a radio. In some respects, radio reception was an early example of green technology. There's nothing stopping anyone from replacing his or her newspaper subscription with a local AM broadcaster after all.
Comments directed at the magazine industry are just as poignant. Though certain types of periodicals like comic books continue to enjoy wide appeal, the computer industry has certainly eaten into news journalism. Once again, however, one could say that earlier technologies were replacing it long before. It's hard to believe that one would suggest that a simple 12-watt AM/FM receiver isn't an example of the green electronics industry.
It's always nice to cut back on waste, and the paper used by the phone book industry does constitute a major source of waste. That being said, sustainable forestry practices can sometimes be create a carbon neutral or even carbon negative industry. That doesn't necessarily mean that people can't cut back on the Yellow Pages, however. In fact, advertising in the online Yellow Pages is an excellent way to increase business revenues among a particularly computer savvy demographic.
Many people who wouldn't otherwise call themselves computer fans are turning towards online Yellow Pages as well. This natural transition will help to encourage more people to use these digital alternatives to their old telephone books. Perhaps due to the prevalence of social media, commentators have forgotten the importance of traditional bookmarks. Consumers will often save a bookmark of a page in the Yellow Pages. This means they'll always be able to return and refresh their memories about a particular business.
When considering how to save paper, it might also be interesting to have a look at a species threatened by deforestation. The Brown Hairstreak isn't in the best of shape these days. The butterfly usually lives throughout parts of Asia and Europe. However, it's an endangered species these days. Deciduous forest habitats are extremely important, and preserving them should be a goal that everyone aspires to. When it finishes pupating, the Brown Hairstreak is only around for a short period of time. The butterfly soars around between August and October. However, the species itself may only be around for a short time longer in general.
Resource conservation is a complicated task. Fortunately, it's easy to take a few steps in the right direction. Switching to a more environmentally friendly type of phone directory is a great way to start out. The Yellow Pages might not seem like much, but they're changing as much as anything else.