For the next few weeks, we'll be looking at piles of phone books as they disintegrate on doorsteps around the city. Another year has passed without a law that would require these businesses to change to an opt-in system. Naturally, the pubishers are fighting this at all levels, even calling phone books free speech.
Large buildings will pay employees to move the material from where it was dumped to the recycling or trash area and then out for curbside pick up. In smaller buildings or those with absentee landlords, the materials will sit through rain, snow, and ice becoming more of an eyesore each day until someone volunteers to trash them.
What will seldom happen is for one of these books to be invited into someone's home and used for something other than paint brush cleaning or craft projects. Perhaps we could get the artists in the city to come and take the phone books away for use as raw material for art projects.
The Boston based Product Stewardship Insititue had taken the lead in working for a solution to this problem. They have a page devoted to what you can do about phone books.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2011 Penny Cherubino
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