“Moving from automatic to on-request delivery of white pages listings is expected to save an estimated 1,870 tons of material from California’s waste stream,” Tim McCallion, president of Verizon’s West region. “Reducing the use of paper is a significant part of Verizon’s comprehensive sustainability efforts.”
According to banthephonebook.org, an estimated 5 million trees are cut down each year to create white pages phone books. The organization also says that recycling white pages costs taxpayers nationwide almost $17 million per year.
Verizon intends to provide customers with an online, electronic version of white pages residential listings as the primary means to access such directory information. Customers also will be able to request a free printed or CD-ROM directory of residential listings. The yellow pages will still be delivered.
Verizon in October 2010 asked the PUC to waive the existing requirement to deliver residential white pages in print format.
California is just the latest state where Verizon no longer needs to deliver white pages.
Last month, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill specifying that Verizon may not be required to automatically deliver printed white pages residential listings in the state. Verizon says the change in Maryland will save more than 2,000 tons of paper each year from Maryland’s landfills.
Overall, Verizon has received the OK to cease automatic delivery from 12 of 12 states where it has land-line customers and expects permission from the District of Columbia by the end of September, USA Today reports. AT&T expects, by the end of this year, to stop unsolicited delivery in 14 other states where it does land-line business.
In the past, Verizon and its printer have been reluctant to provide estimates on the cost of printing the directories or how much money will be saved by discontinuing them.
In New York, where Verizon also asked regulators to allow it to stop delivery of white pages, most of the cost savings would be realized by SuperMedia, the publisher of the directories, The New York Times reported last year.
A good, quick summary of white paper facts is available here.