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 theissue of constructing them. The earth-moving equipment, man hours and gas allcould be put to better use if the landfill wasn't already full.
Phone books are actually easy to redistribute. Most of the time they canbe put right in with the other household paper recycle. You do need toremove the plastic and any refrigerator magnets glued to them. Then itsready to go.
Some cities in the US are working novel ways to keep the books frompacking landfills. San Francisco has a law that you must request anew 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 seewhich can collect the most books. The winners last year kept 9 tons ofbooks out of the local landfill.
What's done with all this material? Old phone books are used to makemore phone books, that's true. This cuts down on the need forpaper. A large percentage of books are made from recycled paper.Besides that, roofing surfaces, plasterboard, home insulation, toilettissue, paper towels, grocery sacks and even cereal boxes are made fromreclaimed phone books.
If you want to try something around the house, some people cover the oldbook with a heavy fabric and use it for a booster seat. You can avoidpurchasing packing peanuts if you shred the old phone directory and use thatinstead. Mix in with the compost material or add it to kitty liter to extendthe 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 therecycle chain instead.