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Yesterday at the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhood committee meeting we had a great discussion about waste reduction following up on a resolution that Council passed in January asking the state to better regulate junk mail. We also discussed new ideas on how the city might want to reduce the number of phone books that end up in the waste stream, if it decided to do so. Junk mail in the city is estimated to generate over 15,000 tons of waste annually, and even if it is all recycled, still costs us over $2 million to dispose. Yellow Pages are estimated to generate an additional 1300 tons of waste at a cost of $190,000 per year to the city. The discussion around phone books was quite engaging and followed a number of passionate public comments encouraging us to take a hard look at yellow pages.
As if on cue, phonebooks started arriving today. This morning my aide brought in a Verizon SuperPages Yellow Pages that was mailed to her yesterday. (I am curious how much it cost SuperPages to mail a 2lb. 13oz phone book.) Then this afternoon at work, Dex dropped off 42 copies of their Yellow Pages and 48 copies of the White Pages. I will be tracking to see how many people here actually pick-up books.
So what do we do next? I’ve decided to take up a collection. If you receive unwanted phone books, I encourage you to bring them down to city hall and drop them off for my office, and I will store them here as we ponder what to do next. It would be even better if you attached a brief story about your unwanted phone books: Do you not use Yellow Pages at all? Do you use Yellow Pages, but feel you can go without multiple copies? Do you have a favorite brand? What steps have you taken previously to stop receiving phonebooks and did it work? Or maybe you feel the existing phonebook system works well for you? If you don’t want to lug your unwanted yellow pages into city hall but have a story to share, please post it here.
As we continue to formulate our policies on reducing waste, I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted: June 23rd, 2010 under Seattle Public Utilities