sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 22, 2011

The Future of Biodegradable Doorstops in San Francisco

Filed under: Bay Area politics, environmentalism — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:18 pm

With 1.3 bil hall in the city budget, San Francisco Board of Supervisors is mulling a ban on unsolicited distribution of Yellow Pages:

A couple hundred people rallied in front of City Hall Monday to protest Board of Supervisors President David Chiu’s legislative proposal to ban the unsolicited distribution of Yellow Pages in San Francisco.

Organized by the Yellow Pages Association, the demonstration drew employees from AT&T and other publishers of commercial phone books.

They banged thundersticks, held picket signs and at one point sang, ”God Bless America.” Their message: the proposed law would kill jobs and trample the First Amendment.

Some business owners decried the plan, saying that despite the popularity of the Internet, they still depend on the Yellow Pages to bring in business. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who sell ads in the Yellow Pages, also showed up in force.

You’d think that being that far in debt the City of San Francisco would be bending over backwards trying to encourage business, but no, they slap more and more regulations on commercial activity.  On the plus side, it’s nice to know that several hundred lost souls in San Francisco still care for the First Amendment. No need to mention the reason behind the proposed ban, but I will anyway:
”This benchmark legislation will conserve resources, promote green business practices and fiscal responsibility, and reduce our carbon footprint,” [Chiu] said. ”I look forward to a robust discussion of the facts at the Board of Supervisors in the weeks ahead.”
I can think of several uses for Yellow Pages: doorstops and booster seats for toddlers, for instance.  But when my father-in-law is in town, he inevitably asks for Yellow Pages.  The bottom line, if the book is published, and businesses pay money to be listed there, somebody still uses it.  Local governments are in no position to tell me how to look for vendors or to tell vendors how to reach customers.
As for the green issues, well, there is another use: an ecology lab.  Step One: Put your telephone directory out in the open in February or March, or whenever it rains in your area.  Step Two: Watch it dissipate.  Newspaper material is fully biodegradable, which is probably more then what can be said about your doorstop.  According to green sources, a newspaper will last 2-4 weeks in landfill due to lack of microbes, but the process speeds up once your yellow book is left out in the air (and in the rain).  Computers, on the other, hand are made of poison.


  1. My first reaction was that this ban was silly. Who doesn’t use the yellow pages? Then I started thinking.
    I’ve never thought that unsolicited deliveries fell under first-amendment protection in the same way as other things. For the same reason, I supported the do-not-call list. Perhaps instead of banning them outright, people should have to enter their adresses onto a list if they do not want to recieve them. That would be a better solution.

    Comment by daniel noe — March 24, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    • I don’t know. I’ve never met anyone who was seriously bothered by the Yellow Pages. I mean, what’s the harm? The only people who are upset about them, are upset because they think it’s some sort of a crime against Gaia, which is kind of silly. What’s Yellow Pagest compare to a stuck of SF weeklies? And all weeklies are read for are movie showtime.

      Comment by edgeofthesandbox — March 24, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  2. […] edge of the sandbox @ 9:54 pm Goldfish.  Yes, it’s goldfish.  Not circumcision, not yellow pages, goldfish.  Via Conservative […]

    Pingback by It’s San Francisco: What Are We Banning? « sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue — June 16, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

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