How to dump old (or new) phone books

Curbside recycling may refuse them

Staff WriterFebruary 22, 2008 

  • Raleigh and Wake County's annual phone book recycling drive continues through May 9. That coincides with the delivery dates of new phone books.

    Wake County residents can also recycle phone books year-round at two places: North Wake Multi-Material Recycling Center, on 9016 Deponie Drive in Raleigh; and South Wake Multi-material Recycling Facility, at 6300 Old Smithfield Road in Apex.

    In Wake County, locations open through May 9 include:

    * East Millbrook Middle School, 3801 Spring Forest Road

    * Jaycee Park, 2405 Wade Ave.

    * Leesville Road Elementary School, 8401 Leesville Road

    * N.C. Department of Administration, 116 W. Jones St.

    * Wake County Office Park, 4011 Carya Drive (off Poole Road)

    * West Millbrook Middle School, 8115 Strickland Road

    * Cary Elementary School, 400 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary

    * Garner High School, 2101 Spring Drive, Garner

    Find a complete list of Wake County drop-off locations, go to:

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.

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