Day 203 Phone Books

I am giving you a reprieve today and keeping my post short.

I opened my front door the other day to find a pile of recycling sitting on my door step. One would think that in the 21st century that the company that publishes and distributes phone books would find a way of determining whether you wish to take possession of them before they drop them uninvited on your front porch.

I know that there are still plenty of people out their who aren’t computer literate and still have a need for these massive tomes.  I however am not one of them, I can easily look up what I want on-line should I find it necessary.

After a search to see if there was a phone number to call with information on how to return them I gave up in disgust and threw them into the recycling bin. I know they will be pulped and reused for something else but as I pointed out in my post  on Day 200 all this processing is not good for the environment. I will have to investigate if there is something I can do to avoid the same thing happening next year.


Talking of recycling, I have been slowly working through the stuff in the garage that my daughter decluttered from her room and this pile of a school notebook pages was the thing to get thrown out today.
Used not book pages

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I can think of two good uses for phone books: door stop and booster chair!

    • Hi Willow,
      That sounds about right but I have no need for either so what a waste. Do they have a system in the USA for this issue, I vaguely remember there being a number you could call to have them picked up if you didn’t want them but maybe I am wrong.

  2. Hey Colleen… Hm, maybe you can use old phone books to feed your fire place if you have one? I also know some people who use the pages in the phone book to put into their mulch. I don’t know too much about landscaping but it’s just an option! If I think of any other ideas, I’ll let you know.

    • Hi Reggie,
      I don’t have a fire place but mulch is a good idea or even use the pages as a weed mat under the mulch. I like it thanks Reggie.

  3. We recently returned from a trip through South Dakota and on a very beautiful country road with no people or cars in sight for miles around was a small rest area under some trees with an outhouse. It contained a roll of very soft TP and also a large phone book that showed obvious use hanging from a chain. Just an alternative to sending it out for recycling. lol

    • Hi Di,
      You will be the first one to know when I have decluttered to that point or when I have gotten that desperate. lol

      Your are a funny one!

  4. I just cancelled my Yellow and White Pages this week!
    Call 1800 008 292, and they will do it, no problems.
    This is an Australian 1800 number and won’t work anywhere else.

  5. Rebecca The Greeniac

    I canceled ours about a year ago. There was some little hidden link on the Qwest Dex website that let me do it online. Now we just get a little door hanger saying “are you SURE you don’t want phone books?” that goes on and on about how they’re made from recycled paper yada yada yada…

  6. We have the same issue here – I receive Yellow Pages, Thomson local directory, and various other bits of junk. I wish there was a way to stop them, as it all just goes to recycling, which is an unnecessary waste of resources and energy. 🙁

    • Hi Tony,
      Betty Jo and Rebecca the greeniac says there is a way to cancel in the US so check it out for yourself. I hope I can find a way here to.

  7. I just found out, and Loretta mentioned it in her comment, that here in the US one can call and cancel these wasteful phone books. I didn’t know this, but I was lucky recently and happened to be standing on my deck when they arrived. I simply told the delivery person I did not want them. I’ll cancel before they come again.

  8. For Canceling phone book delivery in the US……
    (copied from the Yellow Pages website)

    visit to opt out of unsolicited phone book deliveries. hopes to have 1 million people signed up to opt out of unsolicited phone book delivery by the end of the year. You can help them reach that goal by encouraging your friends and family to sign up.

  9. I still use paper phone books. I don’t always have our computer turned on, so it’s quicker for me to look up numbers in the book.

    What is a pain is to have more than one – but we have one for our local town (~1400 people) and another for the next largest city. We sometimes get two for the same area – but when my husband ran his own business we found out why. They’re competition for each other. White page listing are free, but businesses pay separately for each book where they want an ad. And prices for different phone books can vary by hundreds or thousands of dollars (it’s quite the racket!)

    • Hi Caren,
      luckily here in Australia the population is too small to warrant competition in the phone book business so there is only one company that provides the service so we only get one delivery. I know what it is like over there though having lived there for seven and a half years. We used to receive several different ones each year.