HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – In today's digital age, a wealth of information is readily available at the snap of a finger.
Within that online ocean of data are phone numbers and addresses for people within a specific town, city or county.
Since that information can be obtained quicker than the time it takes to flip through a phone book, the question becomes why are those paper relics from a seemingly bygone era still being delivered to people's mailboxes in 2018?
One WMBF viewer posted on the station's Facebook page that she hasn't used a phone book in years and recently came home to one "smooshed in my mailbox."
"WHY DO THEY STILL SEND THEM OUT..WASTE OF PAPER," the viewer posted.
As it turns out, the simple answer can be found in the South Carolina Code of Regulations, Section 103-631, which deals with directories. It states:
Nicole Hyman, with HTC, said the telephone cooperative printed approximately 212,500 directories for 2018 and began delivering 200,000 of them the week of March 26. Deliveries to residents in both Horry and Georgetown counties is expected to be complete by the end of the month.
"How consumers obtain their communications, search phone numbers and shop for merchandise has changed over the past couple of years," Hyman said via email. "Balancing communications with lifestyles and new technologies of today is challenging, as everyone continues to obtain their information differently. With the wide range of age and income demographics in this market, a segment of our local residents still rely heavily on the HTC directory for important information."
But what about those who see phone books as nothing but a waste of paper and simply want to throw them away? It looks like that's exactly what they do.
For the 2017 fiscal year, the most recent year that information was available, approximately 229 tons of phone books were recycled across South Carolina, according to the S.C. State Agencies and Colleges/Universities Recycling and Buying Recycled Annual Report for fiscal year 2017.
Hyman said HTC has been hosting a Green Fair the past nine years so people can recycle their old phone books. She encourages those who won't use this year's directory to bring them to the 2018 Green Fair on April 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the cooperative's office on U.S. 501 across from Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
There is also another option. The National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice and Opt-Out Site allows U.S. citizens to opt out of receiving a phone book.