17 Creative Things to Do with Phone Books
Is it just my imagination, or are they sending out updated editions of the phone book and Yellow Pages a lot more often than they used to?
When I was growing up, it seemed like we had the same phone book the whole time. I remember it, because my Uncle George — who fancied himself the Human Hulk — said he knew a trick whereby he could tear an entire phone book in half with his bare hands. It didn't quite work out that way, although he did thoroughly mangle the A-G listings.
And the Yellow Pages; I don't ever remember getting an updated version. Our copy was sort of our family Bible, not only a source of information but a record of our lives. Especially the page with the phone listing for our family doctor, which was crammed with frantically written margin notes in my mom's handwriting, instructions from the good doctor's office for treating her two accident-prone young sons. Things like: "Induce vomiting immediately!", "Not contagious...as far as the doctor knows," and (multiple entries) "Should pass in his stool within 48-hours."
Okay, so maybe it is just my imagination, but certainly the phone company is distributing a heck of a lot more phone books than they need to in this era when so many of us retrieve the phone numbers we need on the Internet instead. More than half a BILLION phone books are printed and distributed every year in the U.S., which is nearly two books for every American. That consumes about 19 million trees. Here's how to help curb this waste of paper and make the best use of outdated phone books you have on hand:
- Opt Out: Go to www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org and register to be taken off the distribution list for white and yellow page phone books.
- Recycle: Less than 10% of all phone books printed are recycled, even though they can be recycled into everything from ceiling tiles to cereal boxes. Go to earth911.com to find your nearest phone book recycling center.
- Repurpose: As they say, "One man's trash is a Green Cheapskate's treasure." Here are some creative reuses for old phone books and Yellow Pages.
- Child Booster Seats: Cover them in fabric remnants.
- Press Autumn Leaves/Plants: Better yet, have the kids sit on them at the same time.
- Flip Books: Here's a fun art project!
- Window Wipes: Perfect for cleaning windows with a simple mixture of vinegar and water.
- Phone Book Step Aerobics: Duct tape them together to use in stair-stepping exercises.
- Fire Starters: Perfect for the fireplace, grill or woodstove.
- Garden Mulch: Shred 'em (a few pages at a time, Uncle George), they're great biodegradable weed blockers.
- Origami: Recreate the Tale of 10,000 Yellow Swans with a single book of Yellow Pages!
- Pencil/Pen Holder: Here's a nifty craft project idea.
- Papier Mache: It's not just for the Jr. High science fairs anymore.
- Packaging Filler: Balled up or shredded.
- Wax Paper Substitute: Use to separate baked goods and items in the freezer.
- Paper Dresses: Careful, or his fingers may just do the walking through your Yellow Pages.
- Make Your Voice Heard: Sign a petition to the Yellow Pages Association insisting that they move to an "on-demand system" of distributing directories (i.e. you only get one if you ask for one).
- 30+ Ways to Save Money By Going Green
- 10 Ways to Save Money On Gas Without Replacing Your Car
- Top 10 Weird Uses of Vodka
- 6 Safe Green Investments
- How to Pay 50 Cents (or Less) for a Gallon of Gas
Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.
Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.