SACRAMENTO - The first telephone book was actually just a single sheet of paper and was issued in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1878.
More than 130 years later, the much bigger phone book is fighting to survive against efforts of conservation-minded California leaders.
State lawmakers want to cut back on waste by letting you opt-out of those mandatory phone book deliveries. Current State Law requires phone companies to deliver the bulky books to all landline customers, at least once a year.
Senate staff say 78-million phone directories are distributed across our state each year-- that's about two phone books per person, and a lot of those end up in the recycling bin. Many agree that it's a waste.
Californians Against Waste estimates 96% of consumers never, or rarely, use their phone book: "Yeah they should probably stop delivering them unless the customer requests." That's exactly what this new bill would do.
If it is passed, the bill would give customers a choice to opt-out of this delivery service. Lawmakers say that would cut-down on the environmental effects of printing the books. But those who make the big books say they use mostly woodchips and sawmill by-products, along with other recycled directories.
Before you're officially able to opt-out of the delivery service, you may want to take a look at the stack of phone books you may already at home.