Phone books. I have seven. I hate them. I probably have at least a tree's worth of paper sitting on my front porch right now, piling up as a monument to the futility of personally trying to save the world by saving paper. I don't want them. And yet they appear incessantly. Remember this photo? Nothing stops the phone book delivery people.


When I blogged about phone book waste a couple months ago, commenters pointed out that Oregon should mandate some sort of opt-in policy for phone book distribution. And that is exactly what SE Portland Representative Jules Kopel Bailey has done. He and Portland Rep Ben Cannon are the sponsors of HB 3477, which would make Oregon the first state in the country where it would be illegal to distribute phone books to people without their specific request. Phone book companies could still drop off a bunch of the obsolete tomes at public libraries and post offices, where people who need them could pick one up. In the meantime, look what we wouldn't be doing:

According to a DEQ study, in 2003 there were 6.45 million sets of
white/yellow pages published and distributed in Oregon, and there were
only 1.33 million households in the state at that time. Only about 20%
of phone books are recycled, the rest end up in landfills or are burned.

Glory glory Hallelujah. However, the bill hasn't gotten a hearing yet, so it doesn't seem likely it'll pass this session. Which means by the next possible time it could become law, we'll have cut down the trees to print at least 13 million more phone books in Oregon. I say we engage in a vigilante campaign, impaling more phone books on fences around town as a warning to Qwest.