How to Stop Unwanted Phone Books / Phone Directory Deliveries
A Real Person's Recycling Bin
Opt Out of Phone Directories
Every year, A&T, the Yellow Pages, and other phone directories engage in a quaint 20th century ritual.
They drop bulky books full of phone numbers of people we don't call on our doorstep.
Paper phone books are obsolete; we look up businesses and friends on the web. The only remaining purpose of phone books is to make money for the phone company selling ad space to gullible businesses that haven't entered the 21st century.
Here's some reasons why you should take a moment to stop delivery of phone books before heaving them:
- Over five million trees are cut down every year to supply paper for phone directories.
- Recycling phone books costs taxpayer dollars. MILLIONS of dollars (see infographic at bottom of this page).
- Only 22% of people recycle phone books, so the rest wind up in a landfill, which works out to about 165,000 tons a year. Again, your tax dollars at work!
- Many places do not have recycling programs or exclude phone books due to the glossy inserts.
- Phone books dumped on your doorstep show that you're not home. This is a helpful clue for burglars.
(In fact, this last is a reason to ban ALL dumping of unsolicited printed materials from commercial businesses on your private property. If they want to spam you, they can bally well pay postage and rescue the post office).
So how do we block this enormous annual waste of paper?
STOP SENDING ME PHONE BOOKS, AT&T!
How to Stop Phone Book Deliveries — Hopefully.
The phone industry is quick to claim that they won't deliver phone books to people who don't want them.
Easier said than done. FIRST:
- Americans, go to www.yellowpagesoptout.com to opt out. HOWEVER... see below, as AT&T may ignore your request.
- Canadians, go to delivery.ypg.com.
- UK readers, you'll have to contact services individually. Here's a guide to blocking phone books in the UK.
- Sorry, Kiwis and Aussies and everyone else, I started doing research for everybody, but I'm finding it hard to use my U.S. based Google to find phone-book-blocking info in every country. Please take the time to look it up where you live.
AT&T Doesn't REALLY Want You to Opt Out, Does It?
How to Stop AT&T's YP - "Real White Pages" and Yellow Pages
AT&T's "Real White Pages" directory says right on the cover (above) that you can opt out of deliveries at www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
I did that over a year ago. But sure enough, I'm still getting the AT&T white pages.
So I called the phone number listed on the book, 1-866-329-7118.
I was told that:
- AT&T / YP doesn't honor opt-out requests from yellowpagesoptout.com. Instead, AT&T has a new, proprietary site that they want you to use to opt out of deliveries of their phone books. Here it is: mydirectories.yp.com.
- Catch #1: you have to fill in your email address, so YP can start sending you email spam. (Tip: set up a dummy email address that you use for address-harvesting websites like this.)
- Catch #2: When AT&T is ready to deliver a new directory, they'll call your home to confirm that you don't want it. And if you don't answer, they'll deliver it anyway, disregarding your "opt out" registration. Since most people work outside the home, this means that AT&T's "opt out" program is a sham, and for those few of us who do work at home, it's an unsolicited phone call to disrupt our work.
- Catch #3: You have to re-register with AT&T for this so-called "Opt Out" program every three years.
- Catch #4: When I tried to opt out over the phone, AT&T's operator wanted to know the serial number of the directory that had just been delivered to me. Upon cross questioning, she admitted that she was just going to block delivery of that particular phone book... not any of the others that AT&T sends out. I had to insist on blocking all of them.
Which leads me to recommend that you join me in signing the following petition, for all the good it may do us:
Petition to Make Phone Book Deliveries an OPT IN Service
- Help Stop the Waste! - BanThePhoneBook.org
Despite the website's name, this petition with over 100,000 signatures is not asking for phone books to be banned outright. Rather, the petition demands that phone book delivery become an OPT IN service only.