KENNEWICK Did you just hear a THUD outside your door?
This season's new phone book probably just landed.
Now what do you do with the old one?
Please, don't toss it in the trash! Last year, landfills got approximately 660,000 TONS of phone books! If that doesn't grab you, try laying all the phone books end to end and realize that you are looking at 106,700 miles, which could circle the earth about four times!
Landfills are getting progressively harder to site. There is also the issue of constructing them. The earth-moving equipment, man hours and gas all could be put to better use if the landfill wasn't already full.
Phone books are actually easy to redistribute. Most of the time they can be put right in with the other household paper recycle. You do need to remove the plastic and any refrigerator magnets glued to them. Then its ready to go.
Some cities in the US are working novel ways to keep the books from packing landfills. San Francisco has a law that you must request a new book to get one.
Folks in Pueblo, Colo., team with the health department, disposal company and DEX to get the books recycled.
Indianapolis has a contest with local schools (Project Redirectory) to see which can collect the most books. The winners last year kept 9 tons of books out of the local landfill.
What's done with all this material? Old phone books are used to make more phone books, that's true. This cuts down on the need for paper. A large percentage of books are made from recycled paper. Besides that, roofing surfaces, plasterboard, home insulation, toilet tissue, paper towels, grocery sacks and even cereal boxes are made from reclaimed phone books.
If you want to try something around the house, some people cover the old book with a heavy fabric and use it for a booster seat. You can avoid purchasing packing peanuts if you shred the old phone directory and use that instead. Mix in with the compost material or add it to kitty liter to extend the usage of that medium.
So don't follow the thud outside your door with a thud in the trash. Break the chain to the landfill and put the old phone guide back in the recycle chain instead.