Residents in some key cities across Canada will soon no longer be hearing the thump of the iconic Yellow Pages book on their doorstep every year.
Yellow Pages Ltd. said on Monday it is dropping home delivery in "select neighbourhoods and areas" over the next 12 to 18 months, starting with Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, Ont.
The move is the latest in the Montreal-based company's selective phasing out of its printed directories – white and yellow – as it makes the transition to digital.
Instead of home-delivery in cities and areas being evaluated on a per-market basis, the company will make it available at various distribution points, including existing newspaper-style street-level boxes and racks in retail locations such as supermarkets and drugstores.
The existing distribution locations offer Yellow Pages' real-estate publications.
Yellow Pages has come under fire from environmentalists for what they say is the huge waste of paper and contribution to global warming by printing and distributing millions of copies of its print directories every year.
Consumer use has also been falling dramatically as individuals increasingly get their phone numbers and related information from digital and Web sources.
Yellow Pages said on Monday residents no longer getting home delivery of the directory who want to continue receiving it can call a number to request it.
An opt-out system was created in 2009 but critics said it was not widely advertised and remained in effect for only two years.
"I think more people could and should opt out. A lot [of the product] ends up in a landfill site because not everyone recycles," said Aimee Davison, a Montreal Web producer who co-founded Yellow Page Mountain a few years ago as an initiative to stop unwanted phone-book delivery.
"They're completely unnecessary given that we have so many resources online. There are some people over the age of 60 or 65 that may use the Yellow Pages."
"The print directory side of our business continues to have a solid user base and to fulfill a specific need for the small businesses that use it to market their goods and services," Yellow Pages vice-president and chief publishing officer Caroline Andrews said.
"This evolution of our distribution approach is aligned with the transformation of our company as we look to ensure the directory is making it to those who use it, in an efficient and responsible manner that continues to generate quality leads for our print customers."
Among Yellow Pages' digital media brands are YellowPages.ca and Canada411.ca.
It is also heavily advertising applications such as its YP mobile app.
Formerly known as Yellow Media Ltd., the company completed a restructuring in late 2012 and brought in new management after the departure of chief executive Marc Tellier in August of 2013.