It happened last week. I was working from home with The People’s Court on in the background when I heard a dull thump in front of my house. I opened the door, and there it was: the 2014 edition of Verizon’s Yellow Pages, certainly the most wasteful use of paper ever known to man.
Technically, these aren’t the Yellow Pages at all. They’re actually Verizon’s Super Pages.
But, like Band-Aids, Xerox machines and Kleenex, the “Yellow Pages” brand name has become diluted and generified.
"Yellow Pages" just means a book containing hundreds and hundreds of pages of phone numbers that you didn't need, a book covered in ads from those same personal injury and workers' comp law firms that advertise incessantly on television during court TV programs like the one I was half-watching.
Ironically, within about 30 minutes of receiving the book, I realized that I needed to get a suit to the dry cleaner. So I thought, what the heck, let me check the Yellow Pages. I did, and there were less than two columns of dry cleaners listed. Clearly, the vast majority of the hundreds of dry cleaners in Philadelphia have figured out that the Yellow Pages is bunk.
So how do you deal with this annual annoyance?
The first thing you can do is opt out of the Yellow Pages using a website that is appropriately named yellowpagesoptout.com. You just input your ZIP code, and it tells you which Yellow Pages are in your area. And then you opt out. Hopefully, that will be the last Yellow Pages delivery that I get.
But the always civically active Northern Liberties Neighbors Association has taken it one step further. They're offering to take residents' Verizon Yellow Pages off of their hands and give them back to Verizon.
"It’s that time of year when our streets get flooded with superfluous wads of paper," wrote NLNA board member Katrina Mansfield in a blog post on the NLNA site. "In total the city spends millions of dollars to remove the 2-3 phone books per person that are deposited in this city. One way to get this wasteful relic of the past to stop is to show the companies that people do not want these books anymore."
If you live in Northern Liberties, the NLNA asks you to drop off the books at the community center at 700 N. Third Street. If you don't live in Northern Liberties and you want to make a point, we suggest showing up at your local Verizon location and dropping off any books that show up in your neighborhood. Or, perhaps a bit more fun, a good-old Verizon Yellow Pages book burning.
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