For more than a decade, the Local Search Association, the most well known and largest trade organization of print, digital, mobile, and social media, has worked with the Yellow Pages industry to help directory publishers reduce their ecological footprint and deliver products that are more environmentally friendly. From implementing production methods that use fewer natural resources to using less paper for directory printing, the Yellow Pages industry has actually had a positive environmental impact instead of a negative one.
Using Renewable Materials
One of the main ways that Yellow Pages publishers impact the environment positively is by using directory paper that contains recycled content. This type of paper also contains fiber derived from “residual chips,” a by-product that remains after sawmills convert logs to lumber. According to SuperMedia.com, SuperMedia prints its directories on paper that contains up to 40 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and purchases paper from vendors who demonstrate sound environmental practices.1 This way, it is not necessary to cut down new trees to produce Yellow Pages.
Conserving Natural Resources
Another way that Yellow Pages publishers have benefited the environment is by reducing the size of directories, using more efficient pagination tools, and switching to lighter-weight paper to reduce the weight of directories and conserve natural resources. The Local Search Association has also concluded that the result of these steps has been a 35 percent decline in the amount of directory paper used in the market since 2007.2
Limiting the Use of Harmful Substances
After more than a decade of collaboration between Yellow Pages publishers and printers, directories now include soy-based inks rather than petroleum-based ones and use non-toxic dyes that pose very little threat to soil or groundwater supplies. Publishers also use eco-friendly and non-toxic adhesives in the binding process for directories.
As one of the first publishers to sign the Joint Environmental Guidelines that outline rules for environmentally friendly practices, SuperMedia has taken several steps to make both its printing and production processes appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. From providing directories on CDs to large business consumers to allowing consumers to opt out of SuperPages deliveries, SuperMedia is truly making headway in its goal to make Yellow Pages more eco-friendly.
2Local Search Association second annual sustainability report