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The phone company delivered our new phone books two weeks ago. They dropped one at each house along my suburban town’s streets, wrapped in a bright orange single use plastic bag. We took ours in and placed it in the recycling bin. I don’t think the plastic bag can be recycled because it’s a heavier weight than the ones that my supermarket accepts.

If you take a ride around our neighborhood there are dozens upon dozens of these phone books that are still at the curb in their bright orange bags. They’re a sign of times gone by for all who have instant Internet access. Why would I look through a phone book when a quick Internet search not only shows me what I’m looking for but offers addresses, product reviews and other data about that search? The phone book is only of use to those without access to technology.

There’s a whole industry behind telephone books: sales agents, graphic designers, printers/binders. And then there’s the whole process of shipping them to their distribution points and finally bagging and delivering them to us. That’s one HUGE carbon footprint for something I don’t want or use, delivered to my home without me asking for it.

Are phone books going the way of fax machines and rolls of film? What do you think? How could the phone company handle this better?