If you still use a phone book instead of Google or an app on your smartphone, you're part of a rapidly shrinking minority. Despite the fact that less than 11 percent of the population actually uses phone books (as directories, not booster seats or doorstops), they continue to be delivered to more than 100 million households each year. With an estimated recycling rate of 18 percent, only 117,000 tons of the 650,000 distributed are being recycled annually – and at the cost of households that never requested delivery in the first place.
Phone book companies like the Yellow Pages Association are beginning to make it easier to opt-out of delivery (www.yellowpagesoptout.com), since Yellow Pages are a source of advertising revenue. White Pages represent a cost to Directory Publishers, however, and are required by law in most states. So unless your own state senator has successfully lobbied for an opt-in program where you only receive White Pages upon request, you probably have an ever-growing accumulation of phone books at your house. While many local and state recycling facilities and curbside programs now accept them, recycling still may not be an option for you. So what can you do with your phone books? You could add them to your backyard compost pile, or you could get creative and look for ways to re-use them.
RE-USE UNUSED YELLOW PAGES/PHONE BOOKS
- We know it hardly seems like a clever re-use-it tip when we suggest you burn something instead of throwing it away, but if you get a good fire going when you use newspaper as kindling, you'll get the same results from phone book pages.
- Visit ChicaAndJo.com for step-by-step instructions on how to make a quirky and unique pen/pencil organizer for your desk using only a few craft supplies and an old phonebook!
- If you have an especially thick phone book, make a safe out of it. Cut a square in the middle of the pages and store important items such as keys, jewelry, passports, or money inside it.
- Copy Afroditi Krassa and create a picture frame, cardholder, or place setting by rolling 394 phone book pages into a metal tube.
- Do you spend hours slouching in front of your monitor because you can't adjust your chair? Maybe the problem isn't the chair but the height of your monitor. Using gift wrap, an old T-shirt, or anything you won't mind looking at a lot, cover an old phone book and place it beneath your computer's monitor to add several inches to its height and to prevent you from slouching.
- Follow the instructions at About.com for making newspaper seed pots, but replace phone book pages for newspaper.
- This one may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but phone book pages work just as well as newspaper for papier mâché projects. So the next time your kids inform you they have to make a model of the solar system (and oh, it's due at 8:15 tomorrow), you won't have to search high and low for spare newspapers or, heaven forbid, go out and buy fresh ones; just find an old phone book.
- If you like to garden but get sore knees from kneeling in the dirt for hours at a time, make a kneeling pad out of a phone book covered with an old towel. No sewing skills are required for this one, just use duct tape.
- Use phone book pages to clean the paint off your brushes and other painting tools.
- Shred phone book pages and use them as mulch to control weed growth in your garden or around trees.
- Take a look at the amazing phone book creations featured on CrookedBrains.net and get inspired to make your own.
- Sending something fragile in the mail? Tear out and crumple or shred phone book pages for packaging filler in place of store-bought bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
- Phone book pages can also protect breakable items such as dishes and glasses when packing and moving.
- We weren't kidding before about using phone books as booster seats. Grandmas the world over have been putting this tip into action for years now. You could simply plunk your precious, albeit height-challenged, child on top of a plain old phone book before scooting them up to the table. Or you could channel your inner Martha Stewart and wrap the phone book in quilt batting and sew a cloth cover over it.
- Jessica Jones's “ How About Orange” blog gives instructions on how to create gift bows from magazine pages, but you can just as easily make them from phone book pages.