Magazines are 100 percent recyclable and are accepted by many community recycling programs and collection sites throughout the country. Although they are made up mostly of paper, books are difficult to recycle because of the adhesives used to bind them. Still, you can find recyclers in your area or programs that will recycle or reuse your old books.
If you think your books are in decent condition you should consider reselling your book or donating it to a charitable organization. There are many charities that will take your used books, especially textbooks, and give them to those who cannot afford them.
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Frequent Book & Magazine Recycling Questions
Can hardcover books be recycled?
Yes. Before placing a hardcover book in your recycling bin check with your city to make sure they accept them. Some municipalities request that spines of hardcover books be removed prior to being deposited for recycling due to their stiff composition and the glue that holds them together. Instructables has a great tutorial on how to remove a hardcover book cover.
Do staples need to be removed from magazines prior to recycling?
No. Paper mills that process paper for recycling are set up to remove contaminants such as staples and paper clips from the pulped paper.
Where's the best place to donate books?
Various charities, media resale stores and businesses accept books and magazines for donation. Some may even pay out a small sum to purchase your gently used books. Check for local donation and recycling options.
What do libraries and schools do with old books?
Many libraries and schools hold semi-annual book sales to clear out old inventory. Some factor old books into mixed paper recycling plans for the year. Still, both K-12 schools and higher education institutions struggle to process the millions of textbooks that become damaged or outdated every year, according to a report from the National Wildlife Federation.