Phone books: Useful or a complete waste of paper?

Phone books: Useful or a complete waste of paper? »Play Video
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PORTLAND, Ore. - No matter where you live, we all get them - phone books - and the latest ones are making their way around the Metro area.

But do you really need phone books when so many of us have computers and cell phones?

Some people say they use their old faithful book but others say it's completely a waste because they don't even take them inside their home. Instead, they put them right in their recycling bins.

With 500 million phone books printed in the U.S. every year (that's more than one for every person in America), it's no wonder why some are trying to find out what to do with these books that just won't quit coming.

"It's like seeing phone booths around town, you know? It's like it's a quaint reminder of a bygone era," said northeast Portland resident Allen Hunter.

Still, some are not ready to give up old reliable.

"I like having one phone book around because I don't always feel like turning on the computer to Google an address or a phone number," said northeast Portland resident Ruth Rowland. "But I definitely don't need three or four different phone books."

Judy Miller with METRO said if you don't want the book, call its publisher.  Some even allow you to opt out online or you can just call their team who can walk you through the process. But it isn't always easy.

"My manager has been trying for 10 years and she's now managed to get off every conceivable phone book delivery list that might come by her doorstep," said Miller.

Love them or hate them, they are here to stay (for now at least).  Even if some people never use phone books and can't understand why they keep coming.

"It's probably a waste of their money as well as a waste of paper," said Rowland.

We did try to contact someone with Yellowbook, the publisher of this latest shipment, to find out how many they sent out in Portland and why they believe their book is still relevant but they did not get back to us.

To find out how to opt out of receiving phone books, you can call METRO at (503) 234-3000.