Seattle’s war on stacks of wasted telephone directories has a powerful new weapon. Here’s the bulletin from City Hall.
Last fall Seattle became the first city in the nation to mandate that the phone book industry honor residents’ choice regarding what is delivered to their home.
Today the City launched a new and easy-to-use online registry that allows Seattle residents and businesses to choose whether they receive yellow pages phone books: seattle.gov/stopphonebooks.
Under the city’s new opt-out ordinances (123427 and 123532), yellow pages publishers can be fined up to $125 per phone book if they deliver directories to residents who opt-out at least 30 days before scheduled delivery.
In order to opt-out of the Dex Pages delivery, the first to deliver and largest publisher in Seattle, residents and businesses must opt-out by May 16.
“We heard from hundreds of people who are frustrated with the system of receiving multiple phone books every year and requested a reliable way to stop the waste. This is it,” said City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee and sponsor of the opt-out legislation. “The new system provides real accountability — phone book companies must to comply with peoples’ choices or face penalties.”
At stopphonebooks, Seattle residents will be able to choose which yellow pages directory brands they want to receive, or halt delivery altogether. Later this summer, residents and businesses will also be able to call or mail in their preferences in addition to stopphonebooks.
An estimated 2 million yellow-pages phone books are recycled in Seattle every year at a cost of about $350,000 to taxpayers. According to the U.S. Postal Service and Seattle Public Utilities research, Seattle homes and businesses receive an estimated 17,500 tons of unwanted paper in the form of junk mail and yellow pages phone books, approximately 100 pounds of waste per household, each year.
With this new service, Seattle residents can also request to stop junk mail by visiting the site and selecting the advertising and catalog companies whose mail they do not want to receive. Both sites are operated for the City byCatalog Choice, a non-profit company based in Berkeley, Calif.
“Eliminating even a fraction of paper waste represents a gain for the environment. By minimizing waste processing, greenhouse gases diminish and we get another step toward sustainability,” said Timothy Croll, Solid Waste Director at Seattle Public Utilities.