Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Yellow is not Green

Last night Sensis, which is owned by Telstra, dropped off the Yellow Pages. This also included 'Yellow™ In the Car', which is a mini paper version of the yellow pages. The whole package weighed 5 kilos.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates there are over 8.1 million households in Australia. So if we do a rough calculation and bring the number up to 9 million to include the businesses who still get the paper version of the yellow pages we get:

5 kilograms * 9 million = 45,000 tonnes of paper!

That's a lot of paper, and that does not take into account the white pages.

If considering the impact on the environment, this does not include the cost of producing or delivering these directories. Basically we are talking about a lot of energy consumption and green house gases.

Is this really necessary? More and more Australian's have Internet access, so surely for the environment's sake, Sensis should offer an easy opt out service for people do not want the print version. I for one did not bother to open the last few years print versions of the yellow pages. They send them to me and I put them straight into the recycling. What a waste of paper and resources.

If I need to find a phone number, I either use either Google or the yellow pages online. This brings me to the new(ish) Sensis product: 'Yellow™ In the Car'. If you have a mobile, and especially if you have a 3G mobile, why would you use a print version of the yellow pages in the car.

Maybe there needs to be some direct action. If Australian's started dumping all their unused and unopened yellow pages and white pages into their local Telstra shop it would become Telstra's problem to deal with the recycling. Would this open their eyes to the waste they are causing!?! Maybe, maybe not, but direct action is sounding pretty good.


kenc said...

And are you going to dump on the newspapers on the steps of the publisher?? Empty bottles at the local soft drink distributor?? How about the packing materials that come with many items?

While it seems you want to believe that all that paper must mean that trees are being destroyed, that isn't the case -- go here for how the industry's paper is really made:

Ash said...

Yes, let's plunge the forestry and recycling industry into unemployment so that some people can feel good about "helping the environment". Think for a moment how many tonnes of paper are used to print newspapers, junk mail, magazines, toilet paper. Yes, let's do as the Asians and stop using toilet paper as well.

In the Western suburbs, some of us don't have the Internet on tap, especially in our cars or mobile phones and we don't leave our PCs switched on all day. Nobody in my family has a data plan for their mobiles. It's easier to look in a printed directory than to boot up the PC, go online and then spend time finding what we want.

I Googled "opt out yellow pages" and lo, the first result was Couldn't be easier, and a lot quicker than taking a photo of a stack of directories and blogging about it. :)

Neerav Bhatt said...

For those who are interested in opting out the instructions are:

You can choose not to receive specific Sensis directory print products by calling 1800 810 211, or emailing

Bibliothekia said...

If you have a vested interest you should at least disclose this when posting a comment. It’s called transparency and honesty, something which can be very lacking in the lobbying and consulting sectors. Kenc for example, is behind YP Talk, the ‘voice of the yellow pages industry’, so Kenc would indeed appear to have a vested interest in more timber products being used (Yellow™ In the Car) even if there are digital alternatives such as YellowMobile.

So Kenc, given you raised the issue about drink bottles and packing materials; we do face huge environmental and global warming issues because we waste so much in the way of resources. Recycling is great, but as it also takes resources to recycle, it would be smarter and use less in the first place. This does not mean we have to go back to the dark ages, it just means we should endeavour to work smarter. Who knows, being smarter may also mean there is less of a place for lobbyist, which would not be not such a bad thing.

And to Ash, in your indignation you are also sounding like you have a vested interest. Are you really suggesting we should consume more timber products so we can also recycle more and therefore help the timber and the recycling industries? All the proven science say things are only going to get warmer. I also see in the news that last week’s Melbourne heat wave has cost the local economy AUD 100 million. So just maybe, it might be more economically prudent to consume more wisely. And for the record, I don’t have any vested commercial interest in saying this.