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Yellow Pages Recycling

Yellow Pages often cannot be collected through normal paper recycling schemes such as in kerbside recycling boxes or at recycling points or centres. This is because the paper mills that recycle the paper collected through these avenues need to have a certain standard of the raw material they use in order to maintain the quality of the end product. The yellow colouring used to print the Pages actually dyes the paper throughout the fibres. As the end product coming from paper mills generally needs to be white, this presents a problem because bulk quantities cannot be processed together with normal white paper as it requires different treatments. Also, a large volume of glue is used to hold the pages together, and this again causes contamination problems at paper mills. This means old Yellow Pages need to be sent to different paper mills that can process them or mills that are willing to accept higher levels of contamination than others.

The Directory Recycling Scheme, run by Yell, has helped ensure over 98% of local authorities are able to recycle old Yellow Pages in some way. These include dedicated Yellow Pages recycling banks, mixed paper banks, kerbside collection schemes and a schools-based recycling campaign – the Yellow Woods Challenge. 

Last year, around 100 local authorities took part in the Yellow Woods Challenge. Children were encouraged to bring their old Yellow Pages directories to school for recycling and compete against other schools to win cash prizes. The challenge aimed to recycle old Yellow Pages directories and save landfill, educate schoolchildren about the environment and support the Woodland Trust’s ‘Tree For All’ campaign – for every pound Yell awards to schools in prize money, a matching pound is given to the Woodland Trust.

The Yellow Woods Challenge is Yell's flagship environmental campaign for schools, run in partnership with the Woodland Trust and local authorities across the UK.

Since the Yellow Woods Challenge started in 2002:

- 549 challenges have been run by local authorities across the UK

- 12,533 schools have taken part, with almost 3 million schoolchildren involved in the Yellow Woods Challenge

- More than 2.5 million old Yellow Pages directories have been recycled by schools and turned into new products. These include animal bedding, egg boxes, cardboard, insulation materials and newsprint

- More than £350,000 has been awarded by Yell to schools

- £470,000 has been given by Yell to the Woodland Trust. Since 2004 this funding has gone towards the Trust’s ‘Tree for All’ project, which aims to plant 12 million new trees over five years

- 750 entries into the Big Yellow Pages Art Competition, endorsed by Naomi Wilkinson, presented of CiTV’s Fingertips, and Five’s Milkshake

News - The Yellow Woods Challenge is changing!

The Yellow Woods Challenge is undergoing a major review and will re-launch in summer 2010. This means there will be no new directory recycling competitions after August 2009.

In the meantime, keep up-to-date on recycling opportunities and teaching ideas by visiting You can sign up to receive our regular ezine, which will keep you updated on all our news and progress.

Local authorities can download our press release template, which encourages communities to recycle their old Yellow Pages directories when their new ones are delivered.


Click here for more information on this scheme or visit your local authorities website or click here to find out whether you are in a participating area and what to do with your old Pages.

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