May 5

Opt-out of phone book deliveries and junk mail



Starting today, residents and businesses can opt-out of receiving phone books and junk mail.

A look at the discarded phone books, courtesy the City of Seattle.

Last fall, Seattle became the first city in the country to allow residents and businesses to opt-out of receiving certain things at their homes – including phone books and junk mail. Today the city launched a new online registry to make the process easy.

“We heard from hundreds of people who are frustrated with the system of receiving multiple phone books every year and requested a reliable way to stop the waste. This is it,” said City Councilman Mike O’Brien, chairman of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee and sponsor of the opt-out legislation. “The new system provides real accountability — phone book companies must comply with peoples’ choices or face penalties.”

Those penalties are as steep as $125 per phone book if delivered to a residence or business that has opted out.

The city says this move will stop an estimated 2 million phone books from hitting the recycling bin, saving taxpayers about $350,000. “According to the U.S. Postal Service and Seattle Public Utilities research, Seattle homes and businesses receive an estimated 17,500 tons of unwanted paper in the form of junk mail and yellow pages phone books, approximately 100 pounds of waste per household, each year,” a release from the city states.

If you want to opt-out, you must do so 30 days before the scheduled delivery. Dex Pages plans to deliver next month; register by May 16 to opt-out.

The opt-out site is here, which includes both phone books and junk mail.

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  1. @mapleleafbob; go to the .gov website for getting yourself off of the credit card mailing list. Only works for five years though. To the day, it worked. I forgot about it, but then they started coming. Reregistered and within two weeks they stopped showing up.

  2. This is great. I hope it actually works. I find that the do not call list works about 70%, which I guess it still better than not having the option at all.

    For the other junk mail like credit card offers, I love the suggestion that was made on 60 Mins a long time ago, which said to recycle the actual application, but put all the rest of the stuff back into the prepaid envelope and sent it back. Make the cc company pay for having their own junk sent back to them. It’s not the green option as the post office still has to deliver the letter, but I bet it would piss them off to get tons and tons of junk sent back to them on their own dime.

  3. Opting out doesn’t work, they still deliver them. In our case, both to our front door and our driveway. So annoying, who uses a print phonebook anymore?

  4. LOVE opting out of phone books – haven’t used one for nearly a decade. The ones that show up on my doorstep NEVER even make it into the house – straight to the recycle bin! No more!

  5. Current nightly ritual:
    Go to mailbox and get mail.
    Go through mail and recycle, recycle, recycle, recycle, recycle, shred, shred, recycle, recycle, oh keep that one, recycle, shred, recycle, recycle…………..

    New nightly ritual:
    Go to mailbox and get mail.
    Go through mail and opt-out & recycle, opt-out & shred, opt-out & recycle, opt-out & recycle………….

    Future nightly ritual:
    Go to mailbox and get mail.
    Hey a card from my mom, I really should get her on email.
    Enjoy the rest of my evening.

    My son’s future nightly ritual:
    Hey honey, remember back when our parents had mailboxes.

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