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70% of Brits Want an Opt-In System for Phonebook Delivery

Tuesday 13, October 2009

Global Action Plan & 192.com launch campaign to end the scourge of unwanted phonebooks

Imagine trying to wade through Hyde Park if it was covered completely in phone books, two deep. That’s what London’s landscape would look like if you dumped the 75 million phonebooks that are delivered annually to each household and business in the UK.

So today, 192.com backed by environmental charity Global Action Plan and spurred on by research that 70%[1] of Brits would support an opt-in system for phonebooks, has launched the "Say No To Phonebooks" campaign. The campaign calls on the government to establish a centralised opt-in system for phonebooks and includes an e-petition to encourage the public to show their support.

The annual production of phonebooks squanders around 62,000 tons of paper; enough electricity to power 59,000 homes for a year; 680,000 barrels of oil (the annual consumption of 67,000 people); and two billion litres of water, enough to fill 800 Olympic swimming pools[2]. For the total process from production to recycling, 62,000 tons of phonebooks equates to 79,360 metric tonnes of wasted carbon emissions![2.1]

In addition, the cost to councils in terms of the management of phonebook waste is estimated at £7,500,000 a year based on representative figures provided by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.[2.2]

Councillor Greg Smith, Cabinet Member for Crime & Street Scene, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham says "It costs taxpayers more than £22,700 a year to pay for the clear up of the waste created by phonebooks in our borough. If we could reduce the number delivered in the first place it could represent significant cost savings for hard-pressed council taxpayers. It’s also the fastest way to clear up the mess caused by these unwanted phonebooks left on doorsteps. We are encouraging all our residents to recycle, so it is only fair that we make sure they are not sent huge books that they simply do not want."

Global Action Plan CEO, Trewin Restorick, comments: "Global Action Plan fully endorses the ‘Say No To Phonebooks’ campaign. Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that we are causing significant damage to our environment which will ultimately impact upon our quality of lives. We must start to change the way we do things. We need to wake up to the fact that new technologies mean we can create less waste by doing more things on-line. There is no need for everybody in the UK to receive a phonebook (let alone three!) and people should be given the choice of whether they receive books or not."

With 70%[2.3] of homes in the UK now having access to the Internet, 192.com’s research also revealed that 82%*[1.1] of people had used an online directory in the last year. Online directories are typically updated daily (not yearly), they provide richer information such as maps and they are much more friendly to the environment.

Dominic Blackburn, Product Director, 192.com says: "Research shows how out of touch the phonebook delivery system is with environmental considerations and people’s concerns. The government long ago legislated against the delivery of unwanted junk mail but has chosen to turn a blind eye to the weightiest junk mail of all. Reducing waste is one of the simplest things we can do to protect the environment."

192.com is also working with Intuitive Media, an award-winning safe social learning network provider, to get school children across the UK involved in the campaign. They will be running a competition to find the best alternative use for phonebooks through SuperClubsPLUS.com and GoldStarCafe.net and running their own e-petition specifically for school children.

Consumers and businesses can make a stand against the unnecessary waste of resources used in the production of phonebooks by signing the e-petition on the Downing St website (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/NoPhonebooks/ ). Campaign supporters can also follow activity on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Find out more at www.saynotophonebooks.org.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Research conducted by Redshift Research between 5th & 7th September 2009 with a randomly selected, nationally representative sample of 1000 interviews with male and female UK panellists.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 See associated Key Facts document for calculations & referencing.

About 192.com

192.com is the UK’s most awarded online directory, helping find people, businesses and places for millions of users every month. On 192.com, users can search almost 700 million records including free directory enquiries, electoral roll information, local business listings, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property reports.

About Global Action Plan

Global Action Plan is the independent environmental charity that has 15 years experience in environmental behaviour change. The charity works with homeowners and tenants, businesses, schools and the wider community to help reduce their impact on the environment. Global Action Plan’s tried-and-tested programmes deliver tangible environmental and social improvements as well as financial benefits www.globalactionplan.org.uk

For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.