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192.com Urges Consumers To Say No To The Phonebook

Tuesday 27, May 2008

192.com launches viral environmental campaign

192.com, the UK’s leading people, business and place finder, today launches its “Say No To Phonebooks” campaign.

At a time when Ofcom is reviewing BT’s obligation to deliver a phonebook to every household in the UK every year, 192.com is calling for the government to impose a centralised scheme where UK citizens can opt-out of receiving a phone book much like the Mail Preference Service (MPS) setup by the Direct Marketing Association.

The average UK household receives three printed phone books every year. That amounts to 75,000 tonnes of annual waste – enough to cover Hyde Park twice over.

Research conducted by 192.com revealed that 4 out of 5 respondents backed an opt-in phonebook delivery system.

Popular responses for the decline in popularity of phonebooks included:

  • The Internet is quicker for finding information (62 per cent)
  • Phonebooks are too cumbersome (56 per cent)
  • Phonebooks go out of date too quickly (39 per cent)

People were also frustrated at how difficult it is to recycle phonebooks: nearly half (49.2 per cent) of those questioned pointed out that they were not aware of any facilities for recycling phonebooks in their area. Add this annual addition to landfill to the huge environmental cost of producing, distributing and recycling the books in a time when the majority of the UK population use the Internet.

To kick the campaign off 192.com has launched a campaign site, saynotophonebooks.com, where people will be able to sign an epetition in favour of the proposal and join its Facebook group.

Keith Marsden, Managing Director of 192.com says, “Given that more than 61% of households now have access to the Internet (ONS Aug 07), free online directory enquiry services are now a highly accessible alternative to printed phone books. Sites such as 192.com offer free directory enquiry searching and data nationwide including detailed maps, aerial photography and local business listings thus giving consumers a greener choice.“

Some key facts

  1. 75 Million phonebooks printed in the UK per year which equals:
    1. 75,000 tonnes of waste
    2. Laid end to end they would stretch over half way around the world (22,500km)
    3. 680,000 barrels of oil wasted in phonebook production (not including the wasted petrol used for their delivery to your doorstep)
    4. 2 billion litres of water is used in the production process (not to mention the amount of water wasted in the recycling process)
    5. 437 million kilowatts of energy used in the production process (again not mentioning that used in the recycling process) this equates to enough energy being produced to power 112,000 3 bedroom houses for a year
    6. 75 million phonebooks would cover Hyde Park twice over
    7. The pages of 75 million phonebooks are enough to cover the surface of Snowdonia National Park
    8. The pages of the phonebooks produced each year would be enough to cover London (176km2) 25-pages deep
    9. Phonebooks typically have less than 100,000 local records: online directory enquiries search over 17.5 million phone records across the UK
    10. 192.com also offers free interactive mapping and aerial photography, more powerful search options and access to a much broader range of datasets
    11. Online data can be updated on a daily basis, phonebook data can only be updated on an annual basis

About 192.com
192.com is the de facto standard search engine for finding people, business and places in the UK. Established in 1997 by Alastair Crawford, founder of UK-Info Disk and Passado.com, the multi award winning 192.com has over 5.5 million users accessing unequalled breadth and depth of data.

192.com searches over 600 million records including free directory enquiries, local business listings, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property reports.

For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.