17 Creative Ways to Recycle/Upcycle Phone Books

Walking fingers: Yellow Pages logo

We probably all sat on phone books at the dinner table when we were young and could not quite put our arms on the table, but thanks to innovative ideas from the creative ones there are many other uses for phone books.  I have to admit I get perturbed when I find another phone book at my front door and toss it in the recycle bin while mumbling “what a waste”!  I have signed up for the “opt-out”, but apparently, that has not yet gone into effect.

After reading 17 creative ways to reuse phone books I know I will think twice before tossing the next phonebook that shows up on my doorstep!  I especially like the idea of mulch 🙂

From Jeff Yeager, TheDailyGreen’s “Green Cheapskate”:

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 Here’s how to help curb this waste of paper and make the best use of outdated phone books you have on hand: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 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 Mâché: 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).

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