How can I reuse or recycle phone books & Yellow Pages?

Old phone bookNow that the lovely internet is here for our every need, I can’t remember the last time I used a phone book. But still, every year or so we get phone books, Yellow Pages, Thompson directories…

They sit on our shelf for a little while, gathering dust and taking up space, then, during one of his many ill-timed cleaning frenzies, John will suddenly want to get rid of them and won’t rest until they’re out of the house or at least relocated to somewhere not in his frenzy path.

So any ideas on how we could reuse or recycle them? What do you do with them?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Opt-out of receiving them in the first place if you can. In the UK, you can opt out of receiving the Yellow Pages by calling 0800 671 444 and the BT Phone Book by calling 0800 833 400 – both free calls from landlines so there’s no excuse!
  • Reuse: Use the pages instead of disposable “kitchen roll” for picking up … icky things (we use it for cat sick! ;) ). Shred the pages to use as protective packaging in parcels. Use with kindling to light fires for stoves, bbqs or bonfires. Use the pages to line the bottom of animal/bird cages. Use the paper as practise material for origami or paper planes. Use the books as a booster – to raise the height of your computer monitor for example.
  • Recycle: Most councils now accept phone books and Yellow Pages for recycling. Check with your local recycling team if you’re unsure about the arrangements in your area.

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48 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle phone books & Yellow Pages?”


  1. john says:

    I keep an old phone directory around and use pages from it as disposable clean-up rags.

    Great for all the different things that come out of our cats.

    • Mike says:

      You should try saving them until the holidays come up. Using tons of the pages for stuffing paper or whenever you have something valuable you dont want getting damaged.

  2. Rosie says:

    they cna be used as steppers..two or more.. and also a good exercise is to put your foot on the “step” and then lean over you outstretched leg.. gently
    Stretches the ham strings and is a good exercise for sciatiaca suffres

    Rosie

  3. Emanla Eraton says:

    You can also shred them up and use them for starting fires in wood stoves, fireplaces, or barbecue grills.

  4. dancing girl says:

    I have recycled these with waste paper collections in Australia and New Zealand. If the paper is similar to newspaper I don’t see why not?

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t do that in the UK because the glue used apparently gums up the pulping machine! And the yellow dye makes the paper unusable. So they say.

      You can opt out of getting Yellow Pages in the future by calling 0800 671 444.

      • chezan says:

        We were told by our council last year that yellow pages is now accepted for recycling….worth checking with your local council!

  5. drew says:

    definitely use the pages for cleaning mirrors and glass, nothing works better for streak free clean than yellow pages or newspaper.

  6. Joan says:

    shred and compost

  7. I have heared that yellow pages paper is very good for making papier mache. Not that i’v tried it…

  8. Janet says:

    Put packing tape round it, and use as a kneeling pad for the house or garden

  9. Tamara says:

    fold it up and use it as an envelope… do your writing on a label

  10. Bad Monkey says:

    Make a book “safe” out of them, cut the middle of the pages out and store valuable items/keys/jewellery/paasports/money inside.

  11. Jane says:

    I’m sure we have all done it at some point in our life and as i run a motel i had a bunch it was time consuming but..i made trees the ones like we did with the readers digest mags when we were ummm younger painted them and donated them to hospitals geriatric centers and homeless shelters.

  12. Christie says:

    Run pages through a cross cut shredder and use as confetti instead ot the shiny stuff that is about as bidegradable as an old tire. Kids love to through it. Or run through a regular shredder and use in Easter baskets or filler for gift baskets.

  13. booster seats! just put a stretched out book cover over them and have the kids sit on them at dinner time

  14. Demelza says:

    I was interested to read this thread, even though it was started a while back, as I work for Yell, publisher of Yellow Pages directories in the UK.

    It is a myth that old Yellow Pages directories cannot be recycled because of the glue or the dye – the base white paper and colour surface ink wash has enabled the directories to be recycled into products such as newsprint, cardboard, packaging, egg boxes, insulation and animal bedding for many years.

    Almost all – 99% of UK local authorities offer opportunities for recycling of old Yellow Pages directories – the easiest option is kerbside collection – 98% of local authorities currently provide this option.

    The directories are actually a very significant source of sales leads for many small businesses and an important way for them to promote themselves. Of course, we also have the online version – http://www.yell.com – and the telephone service – 118 24 7 – for people wishing to find local businesses and information via other ways.

    To find out how to recycle your old directory in your area, visit: http://www.yellgroup.com/recycling

    Hope this helps.

  15. Vie says:

    If you go to Apartment Therapy.com and surf around the site you will find some really neat reuse for the yellow pages, coffee table, and side tables very clever.
    And why yellow? Why not recycled what ever?

  16. Yuseff says:

    If anyone has any they would like to dispose of in Yorkshire that are under 18 months old I will more than happily take them off you hands and will collect them if required as they will be really useful to me!

  17. EmoAngel says:

    my ideas are:
    —————–
    tear out pages & put under any paper to paint or glue on w/o big mess
    do the same as above but use for pumpkin carving
    make paper airplanes
    make creative cards & more out of different pages

  18. nyphonejacks says:

    use to line the bottom of the bird cage… or for other pets cages…

  19. Po says:

    Try this if u have a lot of xtra time as well.. U take two old yellow pages books, flip each one all the way to the back, and page by page overlap them on each other all the way throughout the book. Then take some duct tape and tape them around the middle where they overlap so when u pull on them the pages wont pop up and release. Now take two people and ask them to try and pull them back apart! It is humanly impossible, as they did the same thing on Mythbusters and they used fork lifts to try and pull them apart and they still couldnt do it! Its funny to watch people who think they are really strong to try and pull them apart and not be able to… try it! When u have gotten all the fun u have out of it then u can still use them for any of these other listed practical reasons!

  20. Dave G. says:

    my favorite thing to do with old phone books is use them as toilet paper. They are septic safe and as expensive as toilet paper is nowadays, a very cheap alternative. I keep two or three old books right on the floor next to the toilet.

    • donna says:

      I had to laugh when I read your post, use them as toilet paper. If we still had outhouses, it would be a good idea. When I was growing up, years ago, we used old Sears catalog as toilet paper. It was so nice when they invented toilet paper and when we could afford to buy it. Kinda sounds like now, doesn’t it.

    • modelallylane says:

      That is really odd, but I guess if it works. I would be afraid it would leave some ink on your behind!

  21. Margo says:

    They are very good as bases and pads for pounding or hammering anything, like cracking nuts, or anything that would leave a dent in the surface you are pounding on.

  22. I WUV MY MUM says:

    Im turning mine into a pencil holder in the shape of a flower…But the guy that uses it for toilit paper was pretty funny!!

  23. recycler says:

    i make phone book x-mas trees around the holidays
    you simply fold the pages, including the covers, in half on the diagonal(top left corner to bottom right corner). When completed the front and back covers were taped together and it formed a cone shape. Then we would spray paint them green, then add glitter, those little lick-and-stick stars, etc.

  24. Estelle says:

    If I have used a frying pan and it is left with grease in it, instead of washing it down the sink, I tend to soak up a bit of the grease with a page or two of newspaper or an old yellow pages directory. This means that less grease goes into the water, into the pipes and when I wash the pan, I need less soap. It also means we don’t use kitchen/paper towels for that, which means less buying of that product in the end too. I don’t know if this all works out as a better option for the environment, but I hope so.

  25. imrah says:

    i was wondering how do you recycle paper

  26. imrah says:

    how do you make telephone directory pages

  27. chez says:

    I tear mine up and put them in the compost bin with my used tea bags, veg and fruit peel etc.

  28. Tomsgran says:

    Yellow pages are great for pressing flowers. The paper is absorbent and the size and shape means you can add weights on the closed book.

  29. Jen says:

    I use them under my dogs dish, why pay 40 bucks for a fancy dog dish when you have free phone books lying around. My Mom came up with this a few years ago when our Beagle Toby had a pinched nerve. The vet told her to buy a bowl stand. She got creative and now whenever the phone books come I just switch out the old with new ones. You can wrap them in plastic to help them last longer under water bowls. The small ones work great for cat dishes as well.

  30. Woah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles. Keep up the good paintings! You already know, lots of people are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  31. Uluska says:

    Crumple the pages and stuff with them shoos for storage.

  32. chezan says:

    Tear pages up into strips then glue them together in several flat layers in a random pattern onto an “untorn” page. Dry flat, when dry cut out shapes for mobiles, greeting cards etc….

  33. shamim says:

    i always used the yellow pages and Newspaper’s page to clean my car’s glass, the results are very nice and imaging.

  34. phoenix19 says:

    Hello, I am looking to buy yellow pages in large quantity , can anyone suggest or guide me to companies to get in touch with , with regards to obtaining huge quantities of yellow pages.

    Thanks in advance ! Kindly get in touch via – pvk2409@gmail.com


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