Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eco guide at your fingertips

There are a lot of helpful books about greening your lifestyle or making your home more eco-friendly. If you check the local library, any bookstore or do an online search you’ll come across hundreds of titles.

One very basic, practical guide that you might not be aware of is right under your nose – the phone book. For a few years now Yellow Pages Group has included the EcoGuide alongside the Yellow Pages section of the telephone directory. Easy to find at the front of the book, the guide is an accessible resource for local information and general tips on living a more eco-minded life.

If you’re wondering what can and can’t go in the blue bins, or where to find your nearest blue bin, check the EcoGuide for a list of recycling depots and recycling guidelines. As well there are lists of do’s and don’ts for your compost bin and some tips for keeping your compost cart healthy.

A couple of pages of the guide are devoted to NB Eco resources, although few are NB-specific. Most are simply web addresses for online resources but useful nonetheless. I find it helpful that the info in this section is organized by area of the home, is easy to scan and provides some practical hints, like recycling options for building materials and what to do with leftover paint.

A few of the pages are about eco-minded shopping, including tips about buying local, credible eco labels to look for and shopping checklists suggesting what to consider before you buy. In fact there are a lot of checklists in this guide which I find are a good way to get you to stop and think about what you can do differently.   

Yellow Pages Group has made the phone book more eco-friendly in other ways too. The paper used for the book is from waste wood only and from certified sustainable sources, the paper is produced using mostly renewable energy, it’s printed using vegetable-based inks and is 100% recyclable. The phone book has one of the highest material recycling rates in Canada – 85% of used phone books are recycled.

But if you never use your phone book then you don’t need to receive one each summer. One of the most environmentally advanced things that YPG has done is to develop an opt-out program, making it easy for households that don’t want a printed directory to say no thanks. After all, directly information is available online and through mobile apps so if they’re you channels of choice, why waste the paper. Visit to submit your request to stop the automatic delivery. Your request will be good for five years.   

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