New phone books seem to multiply in the driveway this time of year. Now, as a fresh crop is being delivered, the season to recycle has arrived.
But not everyone can throw the old books in their curbside recycling bin. It depends on your community's contract with its recycling processor. Throughout Durham and Orange counties, residents can chuck the books in their household bins. But not in Raleigh or Cary.
That's because taking phone books in the curbside bins usually results in less revenue from a town's recycling processor, according to Linda Leighton, waste reduction specialist with the City of Raleigh. The books have to be picked out of the bins by hand so they don't mix with other paper goods. And they're hardly worth the trouble.
"Phone books are considered contamination in the paper waste stream," Leighton said, because they're produced with paper that has already been recycled numerous times. As a result, she said, their last best use is as pet bedding or insulation.