How to Recycle Books

I've written before about how libraries are very eco-friendly places, but what about your home library? Maybe in your new year cleaning frenzy, you've come across a collection of books you just don't need anymore. What to do with them?


But there are still options on recycling old traditional textbooks:
If you're not crafty, you can always try donating the books to Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Most local libraries accept used books, including the Lafayette Public Library. You can drop off donations at 211 E. Pinhook during the week. Donated books are put out for sale at the twice-yearly Friends of the Library Book Sale, with proceeds benefiting the library branches. (FYI, the spring Book Sale is March 16-19 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center!)

If you have children's books, contact your local schools, day cares and churches to see if they accept donations.

MoneyCrashers also has a list of 10 places where you can donate used books.

What about textbooks?

It's been almost nine years since I graduated college (and promptly sold my textbooks back for 1/1938th of the cost), but textbook recycling is still an option for many students and others who have books lying around gathering dust.

These days, as many textbook come in digital forms and are updated often, it becomes difficult sell them back to bookstores. Ebooks at least reduce a massive amount of paper from needing to be recycled.

  • Books for Africa is one site that comes up frequently when looking into recycling textbooks. Books For Africa is the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, shipping over 34 million books to 49 different countries since 1988. They accept general fiction and nonfiction books, along with primary, secondary and college textbooks (soft and hard cover) with a 2000 or newer publish date. They also accept encyclopedias from 2005 or later.
  • Green Textbooks accepts donations and sells used textbooks. Their goal is to work with college students, publishing companies, schools, and universities to conserve natural resources and preserve forests.
  • Better World Books buys and sells used textbooks. You can type in the book's ISBN number and get a quote right away.
  • Textbook Recycling is a third option that buys and sells used textbooks.
  • On a larger scale, Recycle Your Textbooks is a great option. They work with organizations to set up donation bins for accepting textbooks. The books are then put back into circulation through various channels developed over the years. Every book is reused or ground into other paper products. The bins are great for around campuses!
  • Schools can work with the American Book Exchange to recycle large quantities of textbooks.

Help someone else enjoy your old books - and keep them out of the trash - by donating them!

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