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Weekly Tips | July 25, 2011

Book Ends

If you have used books that are not suitable for donation or resale, there are unique reuse and recycling options.

Old or damaged books can be turned into upcycled objects d’art, fashion accessories and unique home décor. Online tutorials give step-by-step instructions for turning old books into paper vaseswreathespurseswalletstable legswallpaper and lamps. Go on, get crafty!

If crafting is not your forté, you can recycle book pages by cutting them away from the cover and binding.  Unfortunately, book covers and binding cannot be recycled and should be placed in the garbage.

Resources: Earth 911 “5 DIY Crafts for Used Books”  | Vintage Paper Vases  Crafting a Green World – Old Books | Planet Green – Old Books, New Crafts  | Craftster – Paper Wallets

The Big Picture

In 2009 there were 960,000 tons of books disposed in the US. While 33% of these were recycled, the rest were buried in landfills across the country(1).

Unless books are damaged, they can be kept in the ‘reuse’ loop for a long time. Help reduce waste by donating or selling unwanted books, reusing books in craft projects or removing book pages so they can be recycled into new paper products.

Sources: (1) US EPA 2009 MSW Report (pp 39-40) | Ask Evelyn “Books – Hardcover”

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