SOURCE: WhitePages



August 13, 2009 08:00 ET

New Survey Shows 81 Percent of US Adults Willing to "Opt-In" to Receive the White Pages Phone Book to Save the Environment and Tax Dollars Formed to Curb the Unsolicited, and Unnecessary, Printing and Delivery of White Pages Phone Books

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - August 13, 2009) - WhitePages ( today unveiled the results of a survey of nearly 1,000 US adults that finds 81 percent of consumers are willing to embrace "opt-in" programs to receive the white pages phone book to help save the environment and tax dollars. According to WhitePages, the largest and most trusted online and mobile directory, if every US household stopped receiving the white pages phone book, millions of trees and up to $17 million in taxpayer funded recycling fees would be saved every year. "Opt-in" is defined as receiving a white pages phone book only if you request one.

"The Web challenges the status quo and calls for a new way of thinking about how we can minimize our carbon footprint on this planet by using tangible and compelling online options," said Alex Algard, president & CEO at WhitePages. "As consumers become aware of the environmental issues with printing white pages phone books, they want to help put an end to the mass printing and distribution of the 131-year-old practice."

The survey found that US adults are largely unaware of the harmful impact of white pages phone books on the environment. Only 15.9 percent indicated they recycle the books, which explains why an estimated 165,000 tons of white pages phone books end up in landfills every year. In addition, 74.3 percent said they didn't know that an estimated five million trees needed to be cut down per year to publish the white pages phone book.

Prior to being told about the estimated environmental damage, 48.9 percent indicated they would support opt-in programs. Once US adults learned of the considerable environmental waste and financial impact of printing and recycling white pages phone books, 82.7 percent ranked themselves as "angry" to "outraged." This anger and outrage led to a 32.1 percent increase in support of an "opt-in" program, with a total 81 percent of US adults saying they would support an opt-in program to have a positive impact on the environment and save taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

In an effort to educate consumers on the environmental impact of printing and distributing the white pages phone book, online directory WhitePages has started the "BanThePhoneBook" initiative. One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of eliminating the white pages phone books is that laws in many states require phone companies to publish and deliver white pages phone books to every landline subscriber. will serve as an educational hub for helping environmentally conscious consumers get involved and take action to curb the unsolicited, and unnecessary, mass printing and automatic delivery of white pages phone books.

For consumers seeking to make the discovery of contact information "greener," offers the following five recommendations:

1. Sign the Ban the Phone Book Opt-In Petition. Sign the petition to show support for developing opt-in programs for individuals to request receiving the white pages phone book versus receiving it automatically.

2. Recycle your white pages phone books. Under 20 percent of white pages phone books are recycled nationally per year according to WhitePages. The rest are eventually burned or end up in landfills, which when bunched together take up very large areas of landfill space. Visit to learn more about recycling and always recycle unused or old phone books.

3. Become familiar with free online and mobile alternatives to using the phone book. Contact information for nearly every adult in the US is available online for free. A WhitePages survey found that 78.5 percent of US adults prefer using online directories, their inner network of friends and family, search engines, and social networks over the white pages phone book. Help make white pages phone books obsolete by using free online services such as the website or mobile applications or other services like Google's GOOG-411.

4. Use social media to become a BanThePhoneBook advocate. Don't ignore those piles of white pages phone books you see in front of mailboxes and recycling bins. Take pictures and videos and share them on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and other social media platforms to share your outrage and get your family and friends to join the cause.

5. And if you're really outraged, write your State Representative. Creating opt-in programs is part of a national trend in which many states have already signed on, including Ohio, Florida, and Missouri. Let your state representative know where you stand.

Visit or check out the fan page on Facebook for more information.


Led by WhitePages, was formed to educate consumers on the environmental impact of the mass printing and distributing the white pages phonebook. The mission is to support both telephone companies and consumers in their efforts to curb the unsolicited, and unnecessary, printing and delivery of white pages phone books.

About WhitePages

As the largest and most trusted online directory, WhitePages offers a suite of free mobile and Internet services that makes it easy for people to find and immediately connect with anyone in the U.S. Only WhitePages offers one-click access to more than 200 million adults and powers more than 2 billion searches on over 1,300 partner sites including Verizon, AOL, United States Postal Service, and MSN. For more information, please visit or check out the WhitePages blog at

WhitePages and their respective logos are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of WhitePages. Other products and company names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Deanna Leung Madden
    Buzz Builders for WhitePages
    Email Contact

    Michele Mehl
    Buzz Builders for WhitePages
    Email Contact