Seattle residents and businesses tired of getting two or three - or more - unwanted yellow pages phone books will soon have an efficient, effective way to stop those deliveries following yesterday's 8-1 City Council vote.
The new Seattle ordinance also requires yellow pages publishers to begin paying for recycling of unwanted and outdated yellow pages directories beginning next year.
The new law creates an Opt-Out Registry that Seattle residents and businesses can access on the web, by phone or by mail and requires yellow pages publishers to pay the costs of operating the registry, for which the City expects to hire a contractor. The legislation also sets out penalties for yellow pages publishers who continue to deliver books when requested not to.
"Seattleites are constantly looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment, and the Council has heard from an overwhelming number of people who don't want phone books," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien, who chairs the committee and is the prime sponsor of the legislation. "Creating a one-stop shop managed by a third party will help reduce clutter, increase residential security, and, save Seattle Public Utilities customers, the people of Seattle, money. This is a win-win for Seattle."
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) has been working tirelessly over the past couple years to find these win-win solutions for municipalities and citizens relevant to the deluge of multiple, and often unused, phone books per household, and the mountain of waste created for cities to deal with. PSI deserves a lot of credit for the progress that has been made.
Another Environmental Paper Network member, Catalog Choice, is great service for people all over the country to reduce unwanted junk mail, catalogs, and phone books. Its free and easy to use.
The Yellow Pages Association have been trying to offer there own tools for opting-out, but they have only moderately useful and effective in addressing the issues of waste, and more municipalities after Seattle are likely to take matters into their own hands. Stay tuned!