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Saving Paper & Glass: But Why You Still Get Those Bulky Yellow Pages!


Dear Friends and Neighbors:


Your E-News is back! I hope that's good news to you, and hope you are enjoying a good holiday season. Under state law I was not allowed to write E-Newletters actively prior to the election (so I wouldn't have an advantage over my opponent), and, frankly, I wanted to give you - and me! - a break from politics after the election.

Saving Paper on the Skinny White Pages, But What About those Fat Yellow Pages?

This week folks curiously celebrated a judge’s decision that could potentially end distribution of the White Pages. Why do I say curiously? Well, the major media ignored the big fat elephant in the room. It's nice that the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) will soon consider a judge’s recommendation. Judge Wood has recommended that companies only deliver those relatively THIN White Pages to folks who ask for them (I'll continue to because I find them faster, and more complete than online services - you would still be able to request White Pages from GCI and ACS even if the RCA votes in December to stop distribution). But what I really don't want are the big, fat, bulky, paper-wasting Yellow Pages. No one has said "Boo" as to why we'll still get the fat books - multiple copies usually - but not the skinny ones.

The an$wer? Yup, Money. Phone companies don't make much money, and I'd guess, lose money printing the White Pages. Or they just pass the cost off to consumers (are we going to see a phone rate reduction now?). Why? Well, you and I don't pay to get our names listed in the White Pages.

BUT - companies do pay to have their listings in the Yellow Pages. And those big ads placed by insurance brokers, car companies, doctors, lawyers and others cost a lot (I know, I've been a recovering lawyer since 2000). So, conveniently, no phone company asked the RCA for permission to stop delivering you the Yellow Pages. And if you really want to save paper - that's the book you don't want. I mean the BOOKS. I don't know how many versions of the Yellow Pages I get dropped on my doorstep, but I get a lot.

Here's the good news. While you might have to ask to GET the white pages (companies know most people won't go online to do this), you can already ask NOT to get the Yellow Pages under a voluntary plan adopted nationally by phone companies. What's the difference? Opting in takes time, so most people won't bother asking to get the hard copy of the Yellow Pages. Opting out takes time, so companies know most people, or at least lots of people, won't take the time to ask NOT to receive the Yellow Pages. It's a subtle difference, but I'll bet that the industry chose an "opt out" rule because the Yellow Pages companies wanted to keep making money on these books. An "opt in" law would have likely eradicated most Yellow Pages - because few would take the time to call or go online to affirmatively ask for the Yellow Pages. So - as it stands, your only option is to go online to stop Yellow Pages delivery.

Subtle but important. Still, this option is positive, if you act. To stop delivery of the Yellow Pages just go to https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/. I'm going to stop my Yellow Pages delivery, but keep getting my White Pages until I find a website that gets me phone numbers that are as accurate as the actual book. While my staff thinks I'm a dinosaur, I often find phone numbers in the paper pages that aren't online, and I find opening the book to be faster than going online. As to those Yellow Pages? They barely fit in any drawer we have in our house. Starting today, they are dead to me.

Glass Recycling Is Back

Last year we wrote the Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) to urge them to start using crushed glass - if feasible and durable - on state roads as a component of their underlay. Mary Fisher from Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR), especially, and the Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE) have been doing more. They worked with DOT, Muni Solid Waste Services, and Central Recycling Services to get a commitment to use enough crushed glass to make recycling feasible, and as a result you can now bring your glass to the Anchorage Recycling Center at 6161 Rosewood Street off Dowling Road. Good work Mary and others! I'm proud to say Mary is a constituent and lives in our neighborhood.

That's it for now. I'll write more as soon as I recover from the post-election haze. And, if you think your friends would like to be kept up to date on Alaska issues - let them know they can contact us and "opt-in" to our E-News!

As always, call if you have questions or concerns, or if we can help!

Best Regards,

[signed] Les Gara

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