Chevy’s Eco-Campaign: ‘Boycott Yellow Pages’
Chevrolet hasn’t always been seen as the most environmentally friendly company. But it hopes to rectify the situation with a helpful “gas-friendly to gas-free” advertising insert in the print edition of Wired Magazine. The insert is printed “using 35% post-consumer waste, utilizing 100% hydroelectricity, eliminating 100,000 pounds of greenhouse gases.”
The insert touts five things Chevy is “doing right now to help us all do more and use less.” It also includes “some things we can all do right now to help the planet.” For instance, you can pump up your tires. You can also “Lose the phone book.”
“You’re probably using an online directory anyway. So call to stop the delivery of your traditional paper phone book. Telephone books make up almost 10 percent of waste at dump sites.”
This … from the maker of Chevy Suburbans.
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The Association of Directory Publishers is a 110-year old trade association that represents the interests of publishers of both printed and online directories. I serve as ADP’s President and Chief Executive Officer and am writing both to correct factual errors in the Wired magazine insert on Chevrolet’s Eco-Campaign and to provide some general information on the industry’s record of environmental responsibility.
Years ago, the Yellow Pages industry began to voluntarily specify papers containing a minimum of 40% recycled content, replace oil-based inks with soy products, move away from animal-based adhesives to water-soluble glues, and eliminate plasticized cover coatings – all in recognition of the need to make directory products fully recyclable. In addition, most directory publishers have instituted aggressive collection and recycling programs as part of their responsibility efforts.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2005 Facts and Figures”, page 37, telephone books represent 0.3% of the total municipal waste stream, no where near the 10% figure quoted in the Chevrolet insert.
Lastly, while the journalists at Wired magazine may well prefer online directories, there are still hundreds of thousands of advertisers who collectively spent some $13-14 billion on print Yellow Pages advertising last year in the U.S. alone and millions of U.S. consumers who collectively referenced those print directories 13-14 billion times during the same period.