OVER 1 million households can for the first time choose not to have the phone book at their doorstep.

every household in the country receives the illustrated residential telephone directory every year.

Books have become noticeably thinner over the past decade, in part due to the phenomenal growth in cell phone and internet use.

Eircom says that while the Big Doorstop Tome remains popular, the company has listened to customer feedback and decided to give people the choice of whether or not to receive one.

A leaflet will be included in all future editions to explain to people how they can opt out.

“About 1.5 million – currently all households in the Republic of Ireland – receive a hard copy of the phone book. Our most recent research suggests that most households actively use the phone book when they want to search for a phone book. number, “said an Eircom spokesperson. .

“However, starting this year, customers will have the option of opting out of receiving a hard copy of the phone book with the option to re-register at any future date.”

The ‘Golden Pages’, often delivered with the residential book, are not published by Eircom.

Many environmental activists view the traditional phone book as junk mail, more likely to end up in the landfill or in the recycling bin.

An 18% reduction in the overall size of BT’s UK telephone directory has saved around 2,000 tonnes of paper per year.

Other critics argue that phone books delivered to doors when residents are away can be an unwelcome business card for burglars.

Advocates for the elderly say Eircom’s new opt-out system is the best outcome for people who don’t have internet access.

“More and more businesses are moving away from traditional paper pamphlets, booklets and guides and instead choosing to communicate only through their websites,” said Eamon Timmins of Age Action.

“This is creating growing challenges for older people as businesses are often unaware that over 70% of people over 65 in Ireland are not online.

“The Eircom phone book is an important source of information for the majority of older people who do not use computers.”

More information is available online at www.phonebookoptout.ie

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