Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2010


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

The yellow pages industry has faced many challenges during more than a century of existence but nothing—including the search engine world headed by Google—surpasses its current challenge: the environmentally green world is coming down hard on the world of yellow. Led by Seattle with its first-ever ordinance requiring the licensing of yellow pages publishers and per-book and per-ton advance recovery, states and municipalities from New York to California are taking aim at the industry on two fronts: forcing a reduction in the number of directories going into the waste stream and taking a share of the industry’s $15 billion annual revenue to offset recycling expenses.

Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2010 is an in-depth look at the size of the yellow pages industry, the amount of paper used to produce books, the amount of waste and recycling efforts, and the likelihood of a court fight that will follow Seattle’s ground-breaking ordinance.

The overview also looks at the history of the environmental movement, the leaders on both sides of the issue, when and where it started, what is its status now and, more importantly, where is the industry likely to go? It also studies the resources available to publishers including the Association of Directory Publishers, the Yellow Pages Association and Product Stewardship Institute, the organization that has been working with the associations and environmental groups and mediating stakeholder dialogues.

Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2010 is designed to help publishers, suppliers, investors and environmental groups understand the challenges facing the industry.

Highlights include:

  • Measures taken by industry trade groups and individual publishers to reduce their environmental impact;
  • Opt out and opt in measures and their benefits and weaknesses;
  • Recycling programs;
  • The potential impact on sales;
  • A segment by segment look at the industry;
  • Profiles of key publishers including incumbent and independent;
  • The progress of printers and paper supplies to meet environmental guidelines;
  • Interviews with key executives on both sides of the issue.


Stamford, CT - Nov. 3, 2010 - The yellow pages industry is facing its toughest environmental challenge yet with the passage of the Seattle Ordinance requiring fees for licensing and advance recovery per-book and per-ton. According to Simba Information's new report Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2010, the entire environmental issue will get even tougher as the yellow pages industry and the green movement collide in the courtroom.

After fourteen drafts, the final ordinance requires publishers to pay an annual $100 licensing fee, as well as $0.14 per book and $148 per ton in advance recovery fees. If this model is adopted mainstream, cities such as Dallas, Texas, with a distribution of over six million, will see total fees amounting to nearly $900,000 every year.

"Seattle's tough new ordinance adds more than half a million dollars a year in expenses to three of the industry's biggest billionaire publishers-AT&T, SuperMedia and Yellowbook-and they are not expected to accept the bill quietly, especially since the ordinance could spread to other communities as a model," said David Goddard, senior analyst for Simba's Yellow Pages Group and lead author of the study. "Advance recovery fees would total more than $10 million if this type of ordinance is adopted by just 20 of the largest markets around the country."

The ordinance is an effort to reduce municipal waste as more print distribution services move to a cheaper online format. However, the print version, which experiences more usage, will still be distributed to businesses, schools and community centers.

"Seattle has set up a model where the producer, rather than the community, pays for the cost of recycling the product," said Goddard. "That model must be attractive to political leaders looking to cut expenses, and the environment is always a popular issue."

Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2010, looks at the history of the yellow pages environmental movement, the reaction by all sides, measures taken by industry trade groups, industry forecast figures and comprehensive profiles of leading yellow pages publishers with the spotlight on their environmental efforts.

  • Methodology
  • Executive Summary
  • Going Green: Environmental Challenges in the Yellow Pages Industry 2010
    • Introduction
      • Table Seattle's Environmental Ordinance
      • Table Estimated Yellow Pages Costs with Advance Recovery Fee, 2010 (Circulation in Millions)
      • Table Proposed State Restrictions on YP Industry
      • Table ADP/YPA Joint Environmental Guidelines
      • Table Nondurable Goods Generated in Municipal Waste Stream, 1990-2008 (Thousands of tons and percent of total generation)
      • Table Nondurable Goods Discarded in Municipal Waste Stream, 1990-2008 (Thousands of tons and percent of total generation)
      • Table Statistical Summary of the Yellow Pages Industry, 2004-2009
    • Directory Recycling and the Waste Stream
    • Size of the Industry
    • Industry Trends and Analysis
      • Table Largest U.S. Yellow Pages Directory Publishers, 2009 (Revenue and circulation numbers in millions)
    • Usage Numbers Decline Slightly
      • Table RBOC Revenue Change 1998-2009
    • Paper Consumption by Directory Publishers
      • Table RBOC Yellow Pages Revenue, 2007-2010P ($ in millions)
    • The Pre-Media Market
      • Table Leading Independent Publishers Revenue, 2008-2010P ($ in millions)
    • Amdocs
    • Individual Publishers Take the Initiative
      • AT&T Advertising Solutions
        • Table Yellow Pages Revenue Growth by Publisher Category, 1996-2012P ($ in millions)
        • Table Yellow Pages Market Share by Type of Publishers, 1996-2012P ($ in millions)
        • Table Yellow Pages References, Top Headings, 2009 (References in millions)
        • Table Capacity and Consumption, Uncoated Groundwood Paper, 2008-2009 (in thousands of metric tons)
      • Dex One
      • SuperMedia
        • Table Outlays for Printing, Paper, Other Production and Distribution; Directory Publishing Industry, 2005-2009 ($ in millions)
      • Valley Yellow Pages
      • Yellowbook
        • Table U.S. Demand for Directory Paper, 2008-2009 (in thousands of metric tons)
  • Profiles of Leading Print & Internet Yellow Pages Providers
    • AT&T Communications
      • Table At a Glance: AT&T Communications
    • Dex One (formerly R.H. Donnelley)
      • Table At a Glance: Dex One (R.H. Donnelley)
    • SuperMedia (Formerly Idearc Media)
      • Table At a Glance: SuperMedia
      • Table SuperMedia's Discontinued Directories, 2008-2010
    • Valley Yellow Pages
      • Table At a Glance: Valley Yellow Pages
    • Yell Group
      • Table At a Glance: Yellowbook
      • Table Financial Size of Selected Yellowbook Acquisitions, 1999-2009 ($ in millions)

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