Taxpayers are paying £7.5m a year to dispose of unwanted and “needless” phone directories according to the Local Government Association, the body which represents councils in England.
Figures from the LGA suggest the cost of collecting and disposing of phone directories from the UK’s 25m households now stands at £7.5m a year.
The body says around 75,000 tonnes of waste is created each year from printed phone directories which, if they end up in landfill, cost council taxpayers £40 per tonne in tax paid to the government.
Even where directories are recycled, councils may pay more to collect and dispose of them than they make from selling the paper for recycling.
The LGA says that with official figures showing seven out of ten households have access to the internet, printed phone directories are unneeded and is calling on householders who no longer use a directory to cancel the three most common directories, BT, Yellow Pages and Thomson.
Cllr Gary Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said: “Slowly but surely, the printed phone directory has become as outdated as the Betamax video and the typewriter. With the internet and mobile phones, many people will have almost forgotten what a phone directory looks like. Picking up the latest directory from the doormat, removing the wrapper and throwing it straight in the recycling has become an annual ritual.
“Council taxpayers’ money could be spent on better things than picking up phone directories, many of which are never even used. Cutting down on the number of pointless phone directories could save millions and allow councils to spend more on vital services like care for the elderly.
“Of course, for some people phone directories are still important, but where people no longer need them, they can make a quick, free phone call or send an email and cancel the delivery.”