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Dec 15, 2023

Where to Find Your Local Book Recycling Centre and How to Use It


Ever stopped to think about whether books can be recycled? And if so, where is your local book recycling centre?

As we’re starting to see the detrimental effects of our behaviour on the planet, the world is, thankfully, becoming more environmentally conscious. From freak weather to wildfires, people are finally becoming aware that now is the time to act by reducing the waste and pollution we produce.

But did you know that in the UK, 20% of all waste which ends up in landfill is paper? For a material that is capable of being recycled, this figure is far too high, right? Well, this undoubtedly includes a many number of books, which most people are unsure whether they can recycle or not.

To help reduce this percentage and guide book lovers to make more eco-friendly choices, we’ve rounded up some local recycling options for those people looking for the best way to get rid of their old books, rather than putting them in the bin.

So, Can Old Books Be Recycled?

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Old books can be recycled, but putting them in your household recycling can cause problems due to the glue, string and other materials that hold them together, especially hardback books.

Recyclers can’t do much with books that are glued together, and guillotining the pages apart would be too time-consuming. There’s every chance your books will be thrown into a landfill if you put them in your recycling bin, and if you care about the planet, this isn’t the best solution.

Instead, we encourage people to find a new use for their books, so we can try and keep as many books out of landfill as possible. We know this isn’t the case sometimes, covers fall off and pages go missing, but if you can reuse a book it’s always best to do that. The little choices really do count!

But the fact is, once you put that book in your household waste recycling bin, you don’t know where it’s going to end up.

Why Should We Recycle Books?

Some people might question whether it’s worth recycling books. After all, paper comes from a renewable source so it can’t be that bad for the environment, right? Wrong.

Every year the UK uses a whopping 12.5 million tonnes of paper. This requires a forest the size of Wales to provide that amount of paper! As we all know, deforestation is a serious problem which affects air quality and the balance of surrounding ecosystems. Recycling paper reduces the need for trees to be cut down in order to make new paper and prevents it from ending up in a landfill where it will produce methane as it decomposes. Schools and corporations are some of the worst culprits for throwing away paper, but we can make a difference as individuals too by choosing to recycle our paper, cardboard and books rather than throwing them away.

How to Recycle Books

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So, if you can’t chuck your books in the recycling bin, how do you responsibly get rid of them? Well, there are actually quite a few options available, most of which involve finding your old books a new home. If your books are in perfectly good condition, it seems a shame to destroy them when you could pass on the joy of reading them to another, right? So, here are your options…

1. Sell Your Books for Cash

An easy way to recycle your old books is to sell them, and the best place to sell them is WeBuyBooks. We may not seem like a local option (unless you’re one of our neighbours in Rawtenstall), but you can sell your books to us without even leaving the house - now that’s local! Once you’ve used our app to scan the barcode of your unwanted books, you can either print off the prepaid postage label and pop it down to your local post office, or you can arrange for collection right from your doorstep. It’s a low-fuss, no-hassle way to get rid of your old books and make some money at the same time.

Selling your books to us isn’t just convenient, it’s also good for the environment. We’ve all heard the mantra “reuse, reduce, recycle”, well that’s exactly what we do here at WeBuyBooks. When you sell your books to us, you’re extending the lifespan of that product so that someone else can enjoy reading it. This is even more eco-friendly than recycling, as it doesn’t use the energy and water required to recycle. It also goes some way to reduce the collective amount of paper we use, as more people buying used books means less need for new copies to be produced.

Find out how to recycle your books with WeBuyBooks or start selling now.

WeBuyBooks Recycling Pledge

If we’re unable to accept your book due to its condition, we’ll contact you and ask what you would like us to do. We can either send your books back to you at cost, or we will recycle them ourselves. This is part of our recycling pledge, which means that every book we take will still have a positive environmental impact.

So next time you’re trying to find local book recycling, remember WeBuyBooks. It’s convenient, good for the environment and gives your bank account a boost too.

2. Swap Your Books

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Whilst a lot of people want to recycle books to declutter their home, true bookworms might only want to recycle them so they have room for more! If this is the case, a great solution could be to organise a book swap with friends. That way you are still able to get rid of the books you no longer read and get a new book for free! Plus, you can be safe in the knowledge that your beloved book is going to a new home where it will be looked after. If you don’t have another fellow reader in your friendship group, there are websites online dedicated to swapping books too.

3. Donate Them to Your Local Charity Shop

When you think of book recycling near me, your first thoughts are probably your local charity shop. Most high street charity shops will gladly accept used books to sell on to their customers. This again gives your old books a new lease of life and allows someone else to experience the magic of reading them for the first time. You can also feel satisfied in knowing that the profits made from reselling your book will benefit a charitable cause.

4. Donate to Schools, Nurseries or Universities

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Kids grow up fast, and they soon want new books when they grow out of reading their old ones. If you think the books could be useful to other children, then you can ask your local school if they’d like to take them. However, some schools may have their set curriculum and won’t want to deviate too far away from it, so they may not take any books.

If you have textbooks that are in-date (this is important as universities will usually look for up-to-date copies), you could donate them to a university. If you have old, outdated textbooks your university may refuse them on the grounds the teaching methods aren’t relevant.

5. Create Things Using Books

Feeling inspired to get creative? Well, no need to head to the craft shop, you have a fountain of materials already lining your shelves. All it takes is a little creative spark to transform your unwanted books into, well, anything your imagination can conjure up. Here are just a few examples of what your old pages can become:

  • Wrapping paper - Are you like us and seem to run out of wrapping paper just when you need it most? Well, instead of forking out a small fortune on new wrapping paper you can try and make your own unique wrapping paper using the pages of those old books you have. Check out how in this YouTube video.
  • Envelopes – Now, making envelopes out of old books may sound complicated and a lot of effort but it really doesn’t have to be, all it takes is a couple cuts and folds and voila! Check out this YouTube video to see how simple it is to repurpose your paper.
  • Decorations - The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can achieve using a little bit of scrap of paper let alone a book full of it! Check out this YouTube Video to see the kind of things you can create just using pages from a book.
  • Art - Take a page out of this book, or this blog should we say, and see what your creative mind can conjure up with a blank surface and a few spare pages.

6. Recycle at Home or at the Recycling Centre

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If your book has been well-loved, reusing it might not be possible. There are a few pages missing here and there, the cover is more crease than cover, and the ink has smudged from all the hours spent thumbing through the pages - all signs of a long and glorious life! The best solution, in this case, is to recycle your paperback book at home with your normal paper recycling and contact your local recycling centre to see if they accept hardback books.

Although it might be hard to see the back of this beloved friend, you can take comfort in knowing that recycling your book will have a positive environmental impact. Here are some statistics which might make parting that little bit easier:

  • Every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees.
  • Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than the production of paper from raw materials.
  • 2.5 million copies of the latest Harry Potter were printed on recycled paper, which saved: 89,200 trees, enough water to fill 105 Olympic swimming pools and enough electricity to power a home for 610 years.

If you have any more questions about book recycling in your area, contact your local council and ask how they would advise you to dispose of old books. They may have a scheme available you can use.

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