How do I recycle paperback and hardback books?

No cost, possibly composting.



  1. 0 Votes

    Well, are they still in readable condition? Then you can donate them to your local llibrary, a children’s center, or an organization like Better World Books.

    In terms of composting them, you could theoretically compost books if you put them through a shredder or just manually tore all of the pages and covers up into tiny bits. Then put into a compost pile with your vegetable scraps and they can act as the carbonaceous material in your compost pile. This depends on the kind of glue, and how the hardcover book is bound, though, not all pieces might break down. I wouldn’t recommend using this end-result compost on edible things, either, as the ink/paper processing chemicals/etc are probably not so great for you.You could use it to mulch decorative plants or your lawn, though!

    • 0 Votes

      Well, I represent a used book store and they throw books away (giving books away to thift stores is like giving inventory to your competitor). I just absolutely hate to see them go to the landfill and recycling companies want to charge for the pick-up. My idea is that if I had access to a table saw, I could saw the spines off, remove the covers, and shred the paper pages for compost. Why did God make recycling such a pain in the ass? Anyway, thank you for your response, JVanderlee!

  2. 0 Votes

         Used bookstores will usually buy books in good condition. Call ahead, since some bookstores only buy back books during certain hours. If the books are in such bad shape or so outdated that you can’t even donate them, you could try recycling them. It varies, but most cities will accept paperback books for paper recycling. 

         Some artists or crafters use old books in their work. You could try posting an ad in the “free” section of Craigslist to see if there are any in your area. 

  3. 0 Votes

    If they are in decent condition you can try selling them yourself on Amazon or Ebay.  If they are raggedy and you want to go straight to recycling them, your local recycling program should accept them.  As maggief mentioned they will most liklely prefer paperback.  If they are hardback, rip out the pages.

  4. 0 Votes

    If you’re a creative type, you could always get crafty and repurpose your books. The link cited below has some great ideas for ways to reuse old books, including cutting out the inside to create a secret hiding place, turning a book into a lampshade, making a clock, and even building a table out of old books. Get creative, and you’ll end up with something really unique!

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