Welcome back to Kingstonist’s two week series featuring our best posts from 2011. Thus far we’ve featured Ted Hsu’s win, overwhelming support for an LRT, a citizen’s concerns about the third crossing, a tasty guide to late night bites and a bylaw allowing backyard chicken coups. Rest assured, after this retrospective week things will be back to normal with new content.
Each and every year we receive not one but two phone books, but in the Internet age are these printed relics really required? Our readers weighed in on this issue citing studies that examined the environmental impact of the phone book versus comparable online directories, while others focused on the role of advertising revenues. Should Canada’s most sustainable city ban the book, or at the very least give people the option to opt out?
If you’re like me (as in, you live in Kingston), you probably arrived home on Tuesday afternoon to find that big, fat, yellow book on your front step. You know the one, the one hardly anyone uses anymore: the phone book. In the age of the internet, why is this archaic publication still be delivered, unsolicited, to every resident in Kingston?
Many north American cities have placed a ban on phone book distribution and even here in Kingston, numerous businesses and institutions no longer accept phone books. Phone book production kills approximately 5 million trees every year and that’s before you add up the energy used to print and distribute them. The number of people who recycle them each year is quite low as well. According to banthephonebook.org, only about 22% of recipients actually recycle their old phone books.
Now, I understand that not everyone has access to the internet so I’m not saying the book should disappear completely, but I do think we should have the choice. The default should be no phone books delivered unless requested. We’ve managed to make some headway when it comes to plastic bags (and bottled beverages to a lesser degree), but for some reason the phone book has been left behind. To me, it seems like the most obvious thing to ban since we can find contact info for most people via Facebook or Twitter and if that doesn’t do the trick, www.canada411.ca is a great resource that I use almost daily.
What do you think? Do you use your phone book? When you receive a new one, what do you do with last year’s? I would love to see Kingston take another step towards being the most sustainable city by abolishing the automatic distribution of that yellow waste of paper and it could all start with a few phone calls or emails to the city. If you don’t want your book, let them know!
Thanks to bondidwhat for today’s photo.