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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

December 10, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Why you’re getting the White Pages in Washington whether you like it or not

 

There’s a thud at our door. Something’s been tossed there. My husband checks it out.

Me: “What is it?”

Him: “Recycling.”

Actually, it’s the phone book. The White Pages, to be precise. He doesn’t put it in the recycle bin, after all, but on a lower shelf in our coat closet. The same place I put my gardening gloves.

I don’t garden.

Legislators appear close to ending mandatory delivery of White Pages phone books to Washington households. But they’re not there yet.

From the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission’s statement of inquiry:

Due to changes in technology, the number of people who rely on printed directories of telephone numbers has decreased significantly and continues to decline. Telephone numbers are readily available on the Internet, which an increasing number of consumers access in place of printed directories. Communities are also concerned with the environmental impact of printed directories, and local governments are beginning to encourage their citizens to forgo these directories as a means of reducing waste and the expense created by directory disposal. This rulemaking seeks to accommodate these concerns and customer usage patterns to more carefully tailor regulatory requirements to consumer and community needs.

You can follow work on the proposal, which would institute an opt-in system for White Pages delivery, on the UTC’s website. There are concerns that a change to the mandate would hurt households with limited or no access to the Internet (some fascinating discussions are public record, if you want to dive in), but at least 18 states have opt-in systems for their residents, according to the Sightline Institute.

For now, if you’re like us, maybe you want to peruse this article: 17 creative ways to reuse your phone book.

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