Local News

Wake dials up year-round phone book collection

Posted December 31, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

— 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 collects phone books year-round Wake County collects phone books year-round

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.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • WABRS Jan 1, 2009

    I keep a phone book in each car. Great for finding the nearest branch of my bank, a particular restaurant, etc. Much more accurate than the Points of Interest in my brand-new GPS, and less frustrating than Google. Yesterday, I was trying to find a pet-friendly hotel in Fuquay for folks coming from Fayetteville. Google produced listings in...you guessed it.....Fayetteville! Despite having a full-featured "smart phone" with Internet service, I won't give up my phone books! Before you trash yours, consider how you'll find a tow truck if you have car trouble on the road, or the nearest "urgent medical care" facility. Or a Vet to care for that furry friend who rides around with you.

  • starglow2005 Dec 31, 2008

    "Raleigh recycling managers were urging residents not to drop phone books into their recycling bins for curbside collection."

    I've done this several times with no problems. What does it matter now that Raleigh has ended curbside sorting of recycled materials and dumps everything into the back of a garbage truck to be sorted at a sorting facility? Why can't phone book recycling now become a part of that process....Hello?

  • juliemc58 Dec 31, 2008

    I use mine.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Dec 31, 2008

    dougdeep, I agree. You'd be arrested if you went around throwing trash into peoples' yards. Technically, they are committing a trespass, but I doubt if you could get any DA to prosecute it. Bad for business.....

  • 2headstrong Dec 31, 2008

    Phone books should have to be something you ask for, not something the phone company tosses at the end of your driveway (and just gets rained on and run over until it's part of the gravel).

    To think they waste the resources to print all those books in the first place is ludicrous.

  • areadriver Dec 31, 2008

    I don't understand why they can't go in our recycling bins. Waste Industries contracted with Wake County to put the special bins out, and that's exactly who collects the recycling, and runs the convinience centers and the multimaterial facilities. One way or the other Waste Industries gets the phone books. And why, if the phonebooks are "too low a grade of paper to be recylcled again", are they collected in the first place? What are they recycled into? Anybody know?

  • speedy Dec 31, 2008

    Went to the site at Yates Mill Pond tonite. No place for the phonebooks. Ended up throwing them in the trash.

  • SteamTrain Dec 31, 2008

    WRAL needs to do some investigative reporting here!

    Just how many miles out of my way do I travel such that my exhaust emmissions cancel any environmental advantage to recycling these things. I suspect that it's only a few miles and we'd be better off just dumping them in the trash.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 31, 2008

    Why did they remove the recycle bins for telephone books at West Millbrook Middle School.

    Since it's not there, I'm putting the phone books in the trash.

  • mommymatters Dec 31, 2008

    It would be great if there was a website where you could go to opt out of receiving the phone books.