Is it time for cities to ban Yellow Page spam?

Fellow blogger Jonathon Narvey took up the charge against Yellow Pages by starting a Facebook group titled, The Yellow Pages Must Be Stopped! Jonathon took his cue from my earlier blog post (my third on the topic) railing against the yellow books. First, I produced a short 36 second YouTube video called "When Yellow Meets Blue." I followed it up with another phone book rant a few months later, and topped it off with a letter to the editor last Spring (which the Sun never published) which inspired Narvey to snap into action and set up the group.

Now CBC News is on the Ban Yellow Pages bandwagon, along with hundreds of Facebook group members and even more hundreds of commenters to the CBC story online.

What CBC have discovered is just how difficult it is to get off distribution lists. The comparison to email spam fits, as they are unsolicited bulk ads. And I mean BULK. We get bombarded by a great big fat book almost 3000 pages thick. Unless you are an elderly anglophile with no internet access (a nearly extinct species in Metro Vancouver), these books are an enormous waste.

Is it time for cities to regulate the distribution of these books to telephone line subscribers? I know how I would answer this question…absolutely!

In spite of phoning Telus to ask politely not to receive any phone books (an ordeal unto itself), I have received not one but three phone directories since the New Year. Two Yellow Pages, and a CanPages so large and heavy it barely squeezed into the blue box. Surely dropping off these books without asking, in a city as wired and multiculturally diverse as Vancouver is absurd?

Plastic bag bans are in fashion politically these days. Are Yellow Pages bans next in line for city councils across the country?

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  • daniel

    I just had one of those big fat puppies dropped off at my door last week. It lasted all of about 2 minutes in our house before it was dumped into the blue box. What a waste!

  • Eric

    From porch to blue bin.
    Can’t say I’ve cracked the spine of one of these tomes since something crazy called “the internet” became more ubiquitous and I could “search” for phone numbers faster than flip through a beastly book.
    Total waste and so pre-1990s.

  • Sandra Chamberlain-Snider

    Unfortunately, I think a significant amount of people rely on these things. While myself and kids never use them, we have older friends and parents who rely on the information. Maybe a user pay system with accommodation for low-income would work? I know you can go to the library for free, but for some people who have been receiving these doorstoppers for decades, its hard to change.

  • Many do use the phone book 70% of the population will crack the spine. The phone directory companies can’t read minds and only drop off to those that do.
    It’s great that you recycle the books, but did you know there is a book in your area that doesn’t use new trees to print their books? The company plants trees for future sustainability and donates money to environmental associations.
    In fact they are certified carbon neutral and remove potential carbon from the air by utilizing paper made from mill waste that is traditionally burned and old wood products like furniture that is traditionally left in landfills.
    The Environmentally Friendly Phone Book>