Conservation Minnesota
Don’t Trash the Phone Book

Frequently Asked Questions

What percent of waste in landfills is made up of phonebooks?

In its 2009 report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that Yellow Pages directories generated just 0.3 percent of the municipal waste stream in the United States. Now the EPA has chosen to stop measuring directories altogether as shown in its most recent “Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States: Facts and Figures,” further signaling the minor impact of directories on municipal waste.

Is it really possible to recycle phonebooks?

Yes. Phone books are 100 percent recyclable. Recycled phone books are a profitable commodity and are made into new paper, insulation, packaging materials, mulch and other products.

What are phone books made from?

Yellow Pages companies have made dramatic improvements with regards to sustainable phone book production, reducing the amount of directory paper used by 58 percent between 2007-2012 and projected to reach more than 60 percent by the end of 2013. Publishers use paper made largely from leftover woodchips and other byproducts of the lumber industry, and some also include recycled content from newspapers, old directories, and other paper-based products. Yellow Pages directories are printed with soy-based ink and bound with vegetable-based adhesives that are environmentally safe.

Do I have to recycle my phone book?

If you don’t recycle now, you should. A 1992 Minnesota law bans the disposal of telephone directories in trash.

How can I help more Minnesotans opt out or recycle their phonebooks?

Conservation Minnesota is a private not-for-profit organization funded solely by individuals, businesses and foundations. In supporting the organization by making a secure online donation, you’ll help us educate more Minnesotan’s about conservation issues.

Why is Conservation Minnesota part of this campaign?

Because we know Minnesotans are eager to contribute through their own stewardship actions to a healthier, cleaner state. We’re excited about the opportunity to help you make your own choices about actions that protect our environment.

I have a question about the opt-out procedures.  Whom can I contact?

Questions related to the opt-out procedures or the sustainability efforts of Yellow Pages directories should be emailed.

How else can I make a difference?

Sign up for updates from Conservation Minnesota here.