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[GreenYes] "Want a 6 1/2- pound book, or a CD?"
>From Doris Cellarius, Sierra Club

I would like to thank all the wonderful people who have provided me with
information about how phonebook recycling is handled in your areas.  I have
been concerned because I have always found them hard to recycle, and I think
recycling should be made as convenient as possible.  Then a reporter called
me about the issue, and I commented about the need to get phonebook
producers to modify their materials (paper, glues, inks) so that the books
could be more easily recycled in community programs. (The author did not
mention this.)  I now realize this is complicated, particularly because the
paper is of such low-grade (short fiber).  I am encouraged by the states
that require producer responsibility, and by the producers that are trying
to do the right thing.

Thanks again.


"Want a 6 1/2- pound book, or a CD?"
 By FRED O. WILLIAMS
 News Business Reporter
 Buffalo News
 8/17/2002


 Starting this year, the "other phone book" may not be a book at all, but a
 silvery CD.


 White Directory Publishers Inc., the Town of Tonawanda company behind the
 Talking Phone Book, is distributing a digital version of its Erie County
 directory to businesses later this month - possibly the first step toward a
 paperless future.


 The discs, which supplement the usual 6(superscript: 1)/2-pound paper
version,
 will cut printing and distribution costs for the publisher, the company
said.
 They're also aimed at reducing disposal hassles for users, who recycle tons
of
 directories every year.


 "Businesses have recycling expenses - they can't just drag them all out to
the
 curb," said Carl Schindler, marketing director for White Directory
Publishers.


 But what remains to be seen is how advertisers - who usually equate more
books
 with more exposure - will react to the switch. A single disc, shared over a
 business computer network, can replace hundreds of paper directories.


 "It's not meant to replace the printed book - at least not anytime soon,"
 Schindler said.


 White Directory Publishers and Verizon are the major distributors of phone
 books for the Buffalo area. White Directory prints 657,000 copies of its
Erie
 County directory, Schindler said, about one-third of them going to
businesses.
 New directories for 2002-2003 are being distributed this month.


 This year, the company is also distributing 5,000 CD-ROMs to businesses, to
 start with. Residential users can also pick up copies of the disc at the
 company's 1945 Sheridan Drive office.


 Verizon doesn't have plans for a digital Buffalo directory, spokeswoman
Heidi
 Jaquish said. The phone company will begin distributing more than 600,000
 copies of its Erie County book - featuring an expanded community section -
in
 about two weeks, she said.


 "I think the print directory is pretty easy to use," Jaquish said, adding
that
 computer users can look up phone listings on the company's Web site.


 Both publishers offer Web-based directories. Verizon operates the
 www.superpages.com while its competitor's site is at
www.talkingphonebook.com.


 Compact discs lack the porch-pounding thump of a 2,500-page directory, but
 they can have a big impact of their own, Schindler said. On a corporate
 computer network, a single copy of a digital directory can be shared by
 hundreds of users - potentially taking a substantial bite out of the number
of
 printed copies, he said.


 Uniland Development in Amherst expects to reduce the stack of 50 books it
 usually receives to about 10, vice president Carl Montante Jr. said.


 "We're all for saving trees," he said. " Where it makes sense to use
 technology, we're going to do it."


 The search function of the digital directory makes it easier and faster to
 use, he said. The 82-person company uses phone directories to find sales
 prospects and to contact vendors.


 The digital version also contains links to advertisers' Web pages, allowing
 users to jump from the directory to a company's site.


 About 1,000 businesses have lined up to take copies of the digital
directory,
 which will start being distributed within two weeks, Schindler said. He
 expects the discs could supplant thousands of printed directories, as
 businesses plant them on their networks.


 "Eventually the book will be optional, not the CD," he said. A day may even
 come when the book itself vanishes entirely. However, Schindler said,
 "there'll be levitating cars by then."


 Doris Cellarius, a volunteer in the Sierra Club's solid waste program, said
 that discs could be an earth-friendly alternative to difficult-to-recycle
 phone books, but they're unlikely to catch on with residential users. "Your
 computer isn't necessarily on when you want to look something up," she
said.


 Instead, companies should limit the number of duplicative phone books that
 they drop off - unasked - at peoples' doors, she said. "We get so many, and
we
 only need one . . . there's a lot of waste."





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