The phonebook seeks to destroy the world


I am, and my fiancee will confirm this, a very good tree hugger.  Sometimes I throw away things that could be recycled.  Often I’m not even sure what can be recycled.  I run the air condition in my apartment and leave electronics plugged into sockets when they’re not in use.  But even to someone like myself who is supportive of the environment, I’d like to keep having one, but not really going out of his way to save it the idea of having telephone books delivered seems ridiculous.

When was the last time you used a telephone book?  Granted this is a self-selecting survey since anyone reading this internet page obviously has internet access but I bet it hasn’t been for a few years.  It’s so much quicker to just Google what you’re looking for, and in the case of people you either know them or can Facebook someone who has their number.

But seriously, look at the size of a phonebook.  Think of every home in North America getting one.  Isn’t that a waste?

It’s a wonder that there’s not a mass Quit-The-Phone-Book movement, with people just not wanting to get the thing anymore.  Let’s face it, even if you don’t care about the environment it’s a hassle.  There are sites like Yellow Pages Goes Green [ypgg] who want to see the book as an opt-in service, but for all the fuss we make about everything else online nobody says much about this waste of paper.

So I’d like to see Telus, who does the main phonebook that people in the Lower Mainland get, start some kind of opt-in procedure where if you want a phonebook you have to go online or call in to get them delivered.  Or better yet instead of doing delivery, just have them available anywhere people activate telephone lines such as cell phone stores and Telus offices, so that people can pick them up.

The telephone book exists now essentially as a ad revenue stream for Telus who charge tens of thousands of dollars a year to companies that want to have an ad in the book.  The reason everyone gets them, is because Telus promises advertisers that everyone will get one, and thus see their ad.

Here’s a notice to anyone thinking of advertising in a phonebook.  Nobody reads them.  If I want to order pizza I Google pizza and my address.  Maybe I’ll order because of a TV commercial.  If I want a plumber I’ll ask people I know, or Google for one.  Instead of placing an ad in a phonebook why not just go out back and light your money on fire?

To recap:

Telus: Stop sending everyone phonebooks.

Advertisers: Stop using the telephone book.  Nobody reads it and one day it’ll start being bad PR to be in something so wasteful.

1 Comment so far

  1. embot on July 15th, 2008 @ 9:32 am

    It’s not just Telus either – there’s a second company sending these things out now. I used to get a copy of each at my front door and my back door (just in case, I guess). And obviously, the five thousand pages are wrapped in plastic, just to rub it in.
    Of course, compared to the waste generated by the daily commuter papers, the whole thing is probably negligible in terms of envirmonmental damage.

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