Raleigh, N.C. — The Internet has made telephone books obsolete for many area residents, meaning many of the books wind up in trash bins soon after they're tossed onto the driveway or into the front yard.
"I really don't use them anymore," Apex resident Gary Feder said of phone books. "Anything I need to get I just plug it (into) the Internet, and I get whatever contact information I need."
To keep as many phone books out of the trash stream as possible, Wake County has started collecting them all year long at 11 disposal convenience centers and two multi-material recycling centers. The county no longer will set up special drop-off sites each spring for old phone books.
Wake County resident Lynn Locklear dropped off two phone books Wednesday at the convenience center on Old Stage Road.
"I still have two more. It's kind of a waste of time, a waste of money and waste of trees," Locklear said. "With Internet access, (phone books are) kind of obsolete. You can find most things at the touch of a finger now."
Raleigh recycling managers were urging residents not to drop phone books into their recycling bins for curbside collection. The recycled paper in the books is of too low quality to be recycled again, and the books also contain glues and inks that contaminate other paper in the recycling stream, managers said.
The city's recycling processor can reject entire loads of materials collected from local residents if too many phone books are included, managers said.
The phone books dropped off at Wake County's collection sites are recycled into products like insulation and animal bedding, officials said.