There’s an article in today’s Nashville City Paper about a middle school class’s effort to collect and recycle phone books. Apparently, the school was started a few years ago as some sort of a “global awareness” magnet school. I’m surprised Eric Crafton hasn’t tried to shut it down since I’m pretty sure the globe includes Mexico.
But anyway, the sweet little Gorephites quote the impact on the environment of collecting these books. “The teachers have calculated that by recycling their phone books, the school has saved approximately 140 trees, 29,600 pounds of lumber and 192,000 gallons of water.”
I appreciate what they’re trying to do, but those resources would only really be saved if we didn’t reprint new phone books each year. Phone books are already printed on recycled paper, so there’s not really any savings there. And even recycled paper is usually 70% virgin fiber (no, it doesn’t come from ugly trees, Sarcastro) so the phone books which are stacked fifty high in front of every business in town by the three competing yellow pages providers are still going to necessitate the harvesting of more trees.
So here’s a novel idea that these kids could throw their weight behind instead of filling up there storage closets with mountains of books. Since 95% of the white pages and 90% of the yellow pages don’t change at all from year to year and all of this information is instantly available and up-to-date on hundreds of web sites, why don’t we just not reprint the darn phone books every year? Keep your old one for a few years and tell these companies you don’t need a new one. Then maybe they’d stop printing so many and they wouldn’t need to waste any resources.
Am I the only one who’s ever thought of this?