What To Do With Old Books? Sell, Donate, Recycle

My favorite part of the end of my day is wrapping up in a warm blanket and getting lost in a good book, there is almost nothing better than that. But what do you do after you’ve read your book, maybe for the third time, and now it's collecting dust on your bookshelf? There are lots of great ways to recycle and reuse your old books. Here I am going to tell you what to do with old books.

I am sure there are lots of you out there with piles of books that are making better paperweights than being read. If you have kids, I don’t doubt you have Good Night Moon or Go The F**k to Sleep that hasn’t been touched since your kids learned what a swear word is, the common question that remains is how to get rid of them without impacting the environment.

Quick links:
Why getting rid of your old books is sustainable?
Can you recycle books?
How to sell your old books?
Where to donate old books?
Other ways to reuse old books

Why getting rid of your old books is sustainable?

Paper products account for 25% of all landfill waste in the US, did you know 40 million tons of paper that could have been recycled end up thrown out? When you dispose of books properly, you’re removing a chunk of this waste out of the landfills they end up in. Like the way we recycle old shoes, socks, bras, and plastic Tupperware we can reuse and recycle books and really reduce the waste. Recycling is such a simple thing to do and it can be an easy first step to making your life more eco-friendly. When you dispose of items properly like your e-waste, plant pots, or even old pillows you are taking the necessary steps to reduce your carbon footprint.

I think the biggest pro when you think of how to reuse or recycle old products is saving the environment, but let’s talk about the pros of finding new uses or simply recycling your old books properly. Each time a book is read again or repurposed into something else it cuts down half of the environmental impact of producing a book. Did you know that 50% of the environmental footprint is caused by the production of pulp due to the heat and bleaching that the pulp goes through? You can also get a little money out of getting rid of old books, which is also a pro, or simply get the satisfaction that someone else will be enjoying that book like you once did.

Student holding old books.Pin

Can you recycle books?

The answer… YES! You can absolutely recycle paperback books by simply putting them in your blue bin. A common question asked is how can you recycle hardcover books, there is a bit more of a process that goes into this, you will need to remove any plastic covers off them and remove the spine of the book, after doing that you can also toss the hardcovers in your blue bin.

Next time you’re wondering how to dispose of old books consider composting them! Adding paper or cardboard to your compost helps to absorb moisture and help to increase aeration. All you will need to do is still remove any plastic or if you’re composting your children’s books remove anything that lights up or makes sounds and add it right in. Be sure that you recycle the plastic that you have removed from your books as well!

How to sell your old books?

What’s better than reading a really great book? Almost nothing besides getting some money back on the books you buy. We know how bad books are for the environment, but what might not be as known is the different ways you can sell your books and not only get a little return on investment but give someone a good deal on a book they’ve been wanting to read. Follow me as I tell you some ways to declutter and sell your old books.

1. Sell old textbooks back to the school

This is a great way to ensure that your textbooks will be reused and a way to gain a little bit of your money back and let’s be real, you will use it to buy your next semester's textbook. The school will buy back your old textbooks and give you some money for them depending on the condition, it's usually half or less than what you bought them for but hey, better than nothing.

2. List your books on marketplace

Facebook marketplace is another great option to get some money back in your pocket and get more life out of those books, although the market can be tough you never know who is looking to scoop up a good book and an even better deal.

3. Sell your books on BookScouter.com

BookScouter.com is an online used book outlet that will purchase your old books and sell them for you... how easy?! This site uses technology to price your book based on comparing prices and determining the best price for your old book.

4. Sell to book stores

There are lots of cute book shops in your communities that will purchase your old books and then sell them to other consumers. I used to love as a kid walking into a used bookstore and finding books that I might not have ever read if it wasn’t at that shop, people bring in their books to be loved again.

Berlin, Germany - April 29, 2020: Cardboard boxes full of used books.Pin

Reselling your books can be difficult so if you just don’t have the time, or like me, the patients, you can also just simply donate the books. Below you will find some ideas that can make the donation process easier, keep in mind that your books need to be in good condition and are free of ripping, tearing, and moldy pages.

1. Donate to daycare or day home

Daycares and day homes often have kids coming and going as they get older and as some of you may know, kids are really hard on books. Daycares are in constant need of books and will gladly take your old ones off your hands. There are a lot of overhead costs associated with running a daycare so anytime you can donate anything to them, even donating clothes, helps them out immensely!

2. Donate to a school

I remember as a kid getting to bring some of my old books and swapping them with friends or when my school hosted a book drive where you could buy or give books to the school to raise money and update the library with new books that the librarian might not have thought to order. This is such a fun way to get students excited about reading but without purchasing a new book and creating more emissions that are harmful to the environment.

3. Donate to a free library or local library

You might have seen these cute little enclosed little libraries on your street, or at least seen a post about them on social media, these are called free libraries and they are a neat way to donate books and pick up a new read on your daily walk. Simply open the little hut that contains the book, place your books inside or take a book that strikes your interest. You can also give your books to a local library if the condition is good.

Other ways to reuse old books

Because books are paper, there are many great ways to reuse old books that may not be in the best condition, but you still want to get as much out of them as possible. Try letting your creative side out and breathe new life into your books, you can make cards, paper decorations, or even scrapbooks with your favorite lines out of your old books, they can also make for great papier-mâché for kid’s school projects. You can always get the most out of your old items and being proactive in finding new uses for them greatly impacts the environment and can reduce the waste in the world.

Final thoughts on getting rid of old books

Getting rid of your old books is a struggle, a lot of people don’t know what to do with them, and decluttering has become a common theme lately. Ensuring that when you get rid of anything whether it's clothing or books, you need to make sure it is done as eco-friendly as possible and with as little waste as you can.

I hope this article helps you out with how to dispose of your old books, I know I learned a few things myself! If you enjoyed this article, please give it a share, and pass it along to your fellow book lovers. If there are other ideas that you use for your old books leave a comment for me, I love learning from you guys!


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