Product Stewardship Institute Launches Toolkit

3 Aug 2016

Product Stewardship Institute Launches Toolkit to Facilitate National Phone Book Opt-Out Campaign

The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) launched a Phone Book Opt-Out Toolkit to help state and local government officials, environmental organizations, and community leaders run simple, effective outreach campaigns to promote phone book opt-out to reduce paper use. Funded by the Merck Family Fund, the Toolkit contains a wide variety of outreach tools to easily conduct campaigns and heighten awareness, including template social media posts, newsletter copy, website information, and flyers. 

Even though consumers increasingly turn to online search engines and digital directories for phone numbers, publishers continue to deliver printed phone books to U.S. residences. Local governments pay nearly $60 million annually to recycle or dispose of telephone directories. Unwanted phone books also pose an environmental burden: each year the industry uses an estimated 4.68 million trees worth of wood fiber, equal to 14 football fields' worth of forest per day.

"Opt-out programs are the most effective way for residents to reduce phone book waste at its source," said Scott Cassel, chief executive officer and founder of PSI. "It's critical that residents know that these programs are easy to use and that, with the click of a button, they can reduce paper use, lower greenhouse gas impacts, and save taxpayers money."

While directory publishers make it convenient for residents to opt out of receiving phone books by providing an online opt-out form, many residents are not aware that these programs exist. A general lack of promotion prevents these programs from operating optimally.

"PSI's resources made it simple to share the importance of opt-out with Nebraska's residents and to teach them how to opt out," said Carrie Hakenkamp, executive director of WasteCap Nebraska. "With easy-to-use graphics and text, the Toolkit offers our organization a seamless way to promote these programs and help reduce paper use in our communities."

Learn more about PSI's work on phone books by visiting the PSI website, or contact Scott Cassel at (617) 236-4822. 

Press Release provided by PSI.