We've long known paper books are on the decline
, but now we're seeing the first death knell for the fattest of them all. California's public utilities commission has ruled that it will no longer deliver
residential phone books unless folks specifically ask for it -- a move that's expected to prevent 1,870 tons of material from entering the state's waste stream. Californians, like everyone else, can search the White Pages online, but they'll still be able to request a paper copy or CD-ROM if they're feeling old-fashioned. For now, though, the state will continue to ship government White Pages and the Yellow Pages for local business listings (in a post-Yelp world, that
seems antiquated). What's especially fascinating about all this is that the pressure to cease automatic phone book deliveries came from none other than Verizon, which mounted a case back in October, citing the enormous human and natural resources required to get updated phone books into people's hands each year. Of course, the estimated 1,870 tons of averted waste is a fraction of the 660,000 tons BanthePhoneBook.org says these tomes create every year, but here's hoping it'll be enough to make other states take note.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.