Saturday, 2:15 PM
City councilor seeks to ban phone book clutter
(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
A forlorn phone book recently sat neglected on a South Boston sidewalk.
By Tania deLuzuriaga, Globe Staff
Phone book companies may have a new advertising slogan if one city councilor gets his way: Banned in Boston.
In an effort to curtail city recycling expenses and reduce litter, Councilor Salvatore LaMattina has proposed a new ordinance that would ban the distribution of unsolicited commercial deliveries weighing more than a pound. His target: hundreds of thousands of phone books left on front stoops and sidewalks across the city.
"The taxpayers end up paying for this stuff to be carted off and recycled," LaMattina said, noting the piles he's seen on streets in East Boston and the North End.
"It's a waste of paper," he said. "It's a waste of money."
Under LaMattina's proposal, companies that deliver any unrequested item weighing more than a pound would be fined $300 per violation. Both the Verizon and Yellow Book's directories weighed in excess of four pounds this year. Residents who wish to continue having phone books delivered could request them from the publishers.
The City Council has yet to schedule a hearing on the proposal. The ordinance would have to be passed by the City Council and approved by the mayor, a process that could take several months.
However, LaMattina's ordinance may have some hurdles to clear. Phone companies are required by law to produce and distribute the white pages free of charge, and many companies, including Verizon, co-bind them with the yellow pages, said Stephanie Hobbs, spokeswoman for the Yellow Pages Association, the industry's trade organization.
"To my knowledge, that type of ordinance is not applied to us in any area of the country," she said. "Phone directory production is required by most public service commissions."
Yellow Book, which distributes only yellow pages, may have to comply with the proposed rule. A spokesman from Yellow Book did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday.
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