83% of the UK public wants more domestic recycling

Distance from recycling sites is what keeps most households from recycling. The second annual Yellow Pages Recycling Report shows that domestic recycling grew by two percent in 1999, but the public wants to do more.


Yellow Pages commissioned the second annual report as part of its ongoing commitment to domestic recycling. The company, part of British Telecom, promotes the recycling of its directories and BT phone books via its Directory Recycling Project.

Survey data shows that 16% of UK households recycled nothing in 1999. The South East and South West recycle more than other regions, with Scotland and the North East at the bottom of the heap (see related story) – about 25% of households in those regions failed to recycle anything in 1999.

Of the 84% of UK households that did engage in some recycling, the following materials were most popular:

  • 74% recycle newspapers
  • 70% recycle glass
  • 38% recycle cardboard or paper
  • 37% recycle steel and/or aluminium cans
  • 11% recycle organic matter by composting

The Directory Recycling Project aims to ensure that 40% of all Yellow Pages and BT phone books are recycled by 2002. In 1999, 37% were recycled.

Yellow Pages has ISO 14001 accreditation, but its 40% recycling target was agreed prior to gaining the environmental management system. It has since become part of the company’s ISO 14001 obligations.

In addition to providing the public with information regarding where and how they can recycle Yellow Pages and phone books, the Directory Recycling Project also offers ‘seed’ grants of up to £5,000 to assist councils in establishing recycling schemes for the directories. Many household recycling schemes do not accept Yellow Pages or phone books because the mills that produce recycled newsprint prefer to recycle newspapers and magazines.

The Directory Recycling Project tries to find councils a source for used directories and the grants are available to assist setting up such schemes. Thus far, directories have been turned into:

  • animal bedding for horses and sheep
  • cardboard
  • padded envelopes
  • recycled egg cartons

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