Stopping a Relic of a Wired World




Laguna outdid itself this year for Earth Day with collaboration between the city, Seeds, Transition Laguna, Kelp Fest and others. What a great day and a great turn out. So what a come down to have AT&T telephone directories dumped on our doorsteps. I was extra lucky; I got two of them since I live on a corner lot. Now what to do with them?

I wonder what percentage of Laguna Beach residents will use their big, thick AT&T directory.  Maybe 10%. I can’t imagine there are more than a handful of homes in Laguna Beach without Internet. Aren’t these big thick directories a relic of the past?

Assuming they are made from 100% recycled paper (which they are not) and we all recycle them, there is still a huge waste. Collecting waste paper, transporting and sorting the waste paper, processing it into new recycled paper, transportation to a printer and binders and then distribution of the directories to us. All for what? So we can just turn around and throw it straight in the recycle bin.

According to 87% of us support an opt-in program for receiving a directory and only 22% of directories are recycled. What a pitiful waste. Millions of trees turned into 165,000 tones of landfill waste!

So do we hate AT&T, Verizon …. ? Well maybe. However, they don’t like to produce and deliver the books either. It costs them a fortune. So why do they do it? In 70% of U.S. states they are required to. This is a nutty situation. We don’t want them, they don’t want to make them and yet they have to and we have to have them. Am I mistaken but didn’t the founding fathers set up a government of the people. What happened to “We The People…” If 87% of “We The People” don’t want these directories and all the wasted resources and costs associated with them, then why do we still get them?

So what to do? You could move to Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma or Wisconsin. Maybe it is easier to support one of the many groups like and sign up at or you could deliver your directory back to an AT&T store and say “no thanks”.

Let’s really try to make everyday Earth Day. After all, we need the planet a lot more than it needs us!


Max Isles, Laguna Beach

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