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[November 09, 2010]
Verizon to discontinue making residential phone books
YORK, Pa, Nov 09, 2010 (York Daily Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Tearing phone books in half is a staple of Chris Rider's act. Rider, a performing strongman from Thomasville, figures he goes through about 1,0000 a year.
Still, Rider wasn't bothered by news that Verizon will soon discontinue printing the residential "white pages" portion of its phone books in Pennsylvania. Rider picks up his phonebooks at a national distribution center in West Virginia. Besides, he tends to get phone directories from major cities.
"The books we get here locally are not too show-worthy for me anymore," Rider said.
If Rider gets lots of use out of residential phone books, he's in a decided minority, according to Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski. A 2008 Gallup poll showed that only 11 percent of households reported looking up a residential phone number in the printed book. These days, Gierczynski said, people tend to look for phone numbers online.
"We've been responding to that trend," Gierczynski said.
Verizon will continue to make phone books available -- either in traditional printed forms or on CD-ROM -- free for people who request them. White pages directories will be available online at a Verizon website. And the company will still distribute "yellow pages" listings of businesses and "blue pages" listings of government offices.
Gierczynski said Verizon usually makes the new directories available in October. By distributing only the yellow pages next year, the company expects to save more than 2,200 tons of paper. Verizon had distributed about 12 million books in the state each year.
York County Solid Waste Authority spokeswoman Ellen O'Connor said York County residents usually throw 70 to 80 tons worth of phone books in the recycling bins set up around the county from August through October. But residents can also put phonebooks out with their other recyclables year-round, so it's a safe bet that far more get thrown away.
One way or another, O'Connor said, most phonebooks get recycled. Even if they get thrown in with the rest of the trash instead of the recycling bins, they're burned in the York County Resource Recovery Center to generate energy.
Still, O'Connor said, that scale of reduction in the waste stream is a good thing.
At the White Rose Senior Center in downtown York, several attendees said they won't miss the phone books.
Sandra Holcott, 64, said she's just as apt to look up phone numbers on her computer these days. Donna Siple, 69, doesn't own a computer and has no intention of getting one, but she still hasn't used the phone book in a long time.
"All my friends and family, I have their phone numbers," she said.
Still want a phone book? To request a free printed directory or CD-ROM of residential phone listings from Verizon, call 800-888-8488.
Verizon's online listing of residential numbers is verizon.com/whitepages.
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