From this weekend’s NY Times:
Leland Yee, a California state senator representing San Francisco, has promised to introduce a bill to the Legislature in January that would prohibit telephone companies from delivering white pages unless customers specifically ask to receive them.
Here’s what Yee’s site says:
According to the Product Stewardship Institute, telephone books represent significant tonnage in the waste stream (660,000 tons per year). Local governments currently bear costs to recycle and/or dispose of phone books, and some areas experience limited or absent opportunities to recycle. According to a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, not publishing a phone book reduces greenhouse gases by about three times as much as recycling (relative to land filling).
The AT&T spokesperson quoted in the article approves of opt-in white pages but references usage in defense of mandatory distribution of YP:
As for the Yellow Pages, their fate is more secure because they are still seen as important for generating business.
“People reference the yellow pages 3.3 billion times a year,” [AT&T spokesman Fletcher] Cook said. “There’s still a high volume of usage.”
If Opt-in WP (a non-revenue-generating product in the US) legislation passes, it will set up a precedent for a future opt-in treatment of yellow pages.
The future argument will be: those that truly want it can get it and those that don’t won’t have to. The logic of that will be hard for the industry to combat given the opt-in precedent that will have been set by WP. Consumers and politicians won’t care about the revenue side of things.
YP will have to do lots of aggressive PR about how it helps SMBs and the local community to combat the environmental/waste arguments.
Who disagrees with me?