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Can Books Go in Recycling?

can books go in recycling

Books aren’t as easy to recycle as you might think. They’re mixed paper and can contain binders or other non-paper materials, such as thread or plastic.

Fortunately, it’s possible to recycle old books and magazines. However, it’s important to know what kind of books can go in recycling and what shouldn’t.

Paperback Books

Unlike hardcover books, paperbacks are not usually accepted by curbside recycling programs. This is because they contain non-paper materials that cannot be recycled, such as staples, inserts, and covers.

Publishers issue paperback editions of books to appeal to readers who prefer to read on-the-go. These books are typically cheaper and smaller in size, with glued bindings and lower-quality paper than hardcovers.

These editions are also used to reprint old comics and graphic novels. These are a popular choice for book collectors who seek to keep their favorite stories in print.

If you do not want your books to end up in a landfill, you can consider donating them or selling them for resale. Some companies like Better World Books accept used books to sell online, and some even run drop-off bins at shopping malls.

Hardcover Books

Hardcover books are not usually included in the recycling bin, because they need to be disassembled first. The cover and spine should also be removed, as well as any paper that has become tan or brown over time.

When it comes to the printing process, hardcover books use acid-free papers that prevent deterioration. This type of paper allows the pages to be thicker and have a premium look.

These books can be more expensive than paperbacks, but it is worth the extra money if you want a book that will last. This is especially true if you plan to keep the book as a collector’s item or if you want to give it as a gift.

Another great reason to consider donating your old books is that they can go to people who need them in underserved communities around the world. These organizations will often use them to help fund their work and educational programs.

Mixed Paper

Paper is one of the most common and abundant materials used in modern society. It also happens to be the most recycled material, making it an important component of any recycling program.

But the tumultuous price and market environment for this commodity has led to a significant reduction in residential curbside collection, according to Dylan de Thomas, vice president of industry collaboration at The Recycling Partnership. In Lexington, Kentucky, for example, mixed paper collection was suspended this year.

Mixed paper typically comprises newspaper, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, envelopes and small cardboard. It’s the primary type of paper generated by municipal recycling systems in the U.S. and is a key source of revenue for many MRFs.


Magazines are a large part of the recycling process. Like paperback books and hardcover books, magazines are mixed paper products that belong in the paper recycling bin.

They go through a pulping process at a paper mill to break down their contents into fibers. This process also removes any unwanted inks or adhesives from the paper.

After the pulp is made, it is strained through a fine mesh screen to get rid of any impurities. Then, it goes through another process called flotation deinking to make sure that the paper is free of ink.

Most glossy magazines can be recycled as long as the paper has not been coated with plastic or other materials that would make it non-recyclable. A simple test to check if the glossy paper is made with clay is to tear a page out of it. If the page rips, it is made with clay and can be recycled. Alternatively, you can donate your glossy magazines to organizations such as schools, hospitals, and hospices.

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