In 2007, the Local Search Association, formerly the Yellow Pages Association, collaborated with national environmental organizations and government agencies to understand how the Yellow Pages (YP) industry could reduce its carbon footprint. The result of this collaboration is the Industry Environmental Guidelines, which cover the following areas:

Resource reduction: this guideline encourages Yellow Pages publishers to reduce the number of directories they receive or opt out of directory delivery entirely depending on preferences.

Manufacturing practices: this guideline encourages publishers to use recycled materials for directories, as well as environmentally friendly inks, dyes, and glues to make the production process more environmentally sound.

Recycling programs: this guideline encourages members to work with local recycling facilities and consumers to create a directory-recycling plan that works for everyone, as well as to let people know about available recycling programs in their areas.

Yellow Pages producers that adhere to these Environmental Guidelines receive permission to display the Yellow Pages Industry Environmental Seal, which indicates they engage in environmentally friendly practices, on their products.

Print YP Benefit the Environment

One of the most important aspects of adhering to Industry Environmental Guidelines is taking steps to avoid polluting nature. This includes understanding the impact that paper production, printing and directory production, and directory disposal have on the environment and transforming these processes into those that are as eco-friendly as possible. The results of these efforts have certainly paid off:

  • Print YP now only account for 0.3 percent of the solid waste stream, much less than newspapers, which produce 3.2 percent, and office paper, which produces 2.2 percent.1
  • Directory recycling has increased substantially to 36.9 percent, up from 15.5 percent last year.2
  • The demand for paper to produce directories has decreased almost 35 percent since 2007. (8.5 percent of this occurred in 2010 alone.)3
  • Consumers can reduce the number of directories they receive or opt out of print YP delivery entirely by visiting a single website.

As publishers of print YP continue to use environmentally sound production processes and materials to make directories, the Yellow Pages industry as a whole is seeing increasingly positive feedback from consumers. After all, the Local Search Association’s Local Media Tracking Study has recently indicated that there were 11 billion references to the print YP in 2010.4

1Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, 2009 Facts and Figures, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2YPA’s Neg Norton: Recycling Print Directories in a Digital Age

3Local Search Association Sustainability Report 2011

4YPA/LSA 1998-2011 Usage Studies; CRM Associates

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