Virtually all paper is recyclable as long as it is dry, clean, and can be torn easily. This makes it very sustainable in practice, however, can you actually recycle books? The simple answer is no, not all of them, but keep reading for the full version.
There are many types of books, but if we were to condense them into two types, the terms paperback and hardcover would be the most suitable.
As the name suggests, a paperback means the book is bound by stiff paper. Whereas a hardcover book is bound by boards that can be covered in a variety of materials like cloth, paper, leather, and more.
As you might already realize, not all of the materials in a hardcover book can be recycled because they are combined together.
Thus, not all books can be recycled, at least in their normal state. Let’s look at alternatives.
Some Recycling Centers Do Accept Hardcover Books
Now, some of you reading this may be very confused because you know for a fact that your local recycling centers accept hardcover books. And yes, some recycling centers around the country do indeed accept them.
Instead, there is a very good chance that hardcover books cannot be recycled in your area. At least with the cover attached.
If you want to be sure it is accepted, you should manually remove the cover before placing it into the recycling bin. This will ensure that the majority of it can indeed be recycled.
It really shouldn’t take much time to do, so it’s pretty easy.
However, you may want to go the extra mile and make sure there isn’t a strong adhesive present. Some centers may not be able to remove it, thus, you can go the extra mile by cutting out the part that is covered in the glue.
Regardless, is recycling really the best option?
Don’t Recycle Your Books, Sell or Donate Them Instead
Truthfully, unless a book is seriously damaged, recycling a book should be the last option you should consider.
In our online world, platforms like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and more have made it extremely easy to sell unwanted items across the country or locally.
When it comes to books, it’s a really good idea to take advantage of those platforms.
For example, college textbooks are great items to sell when you are done, but I’m sure you already know this. However, even a book you found in your closet from five years ago still has a lot of value.
Of course, you may not want to bother signing up to one of these platforms to do business. And that’s fine.
You could try running your own garage sale and actually sell the books yourself. They are way more successful than most people realize. The other main option is to simply donate your books.
Local libraries, schools, and other thrift stores will help make sure books find new homes. And this is one of the best options to consider not just for books, but for anything you are considering throwing out.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.