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J&B Recycling Knowledge

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10 Ways to Reuse Or Recycle Old Books

Books can’t be recycled along with other paper recycling because of the glue that's used to bind them. So how you can you recycle or reuse old books? Here are a few suggestions from the team of experts at J&B Recycling.

Donate to a local charity. Bring your boxes of used books to your local charity shop. Here at J&B Recycling we love to support Alice House Hospice, who have a shop near Mill House Leisure Centre in Hartlepool. But there are dozens of them scattered all over the North East including Daisy Chain in Teesside, British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation, Sue Ryder… to name but a few!

Donate to your local library. If they are still in good condition, most libraries will accept a donation of used books. Some libraries will even accept donations of magazines especially if they are educational.

Donate to Better World Books. Better World Books is a certified B-Corporation and a for-profit global e-retailer that collects and sells new and used books online matching each purchase with a book donation, Book-for-Book™. Each sale generates funds for literacy and education initiatives in the UK, US, and around the world. Since its launch in 2003, Better World Books has raised more than $27 million for libraries and literacy, donated over 26 million books, and reused or recycled over 300 million books. To learn more how Better World Books Cares, visit

Sell them online. You might not want to read it anymore, but there might be plenty of people out there who would love to rediscover your once loved book and would happily pay for the privilege! Check out Facebook Market Place or where you might also be able to make a few pennies (or even pounds)… and buy yourself a new one (ideally second hand if you want to do your bit for the planet)!

Release your books “into the wild”. is a website (and Facebook community group) that allows you to register your books and then leave them for a person nearby to enjoy.

Make a “Free Books” box. Choose a location, such as your kitchen or canteen at work or school and place a book (or books) in a box labelled “Free Books” in that location. If are town/city based, you might also be able to put the box outside of your home and let people help themselves – just be sure to use a waterproof box, or place it in a porch.

DIY envelopes. When giving gift cards or cash as a gift, it’s fun to have unique envelopes to put them in. If parts of the book are damaged, making them unsuitable for donation, this is a great idea. Find a template that you like, here are some to get you started: then use your book pages to make your envelopes.

DIY gift tags. Another idea for the book that isn’t in great shape, use the pages to make gift tags. Either punch out or cut out your tags and use a dark marker to write your message on it.

Decorate with your books. Use the book pages to make completely unique wallpaper – this works particularly well for a feature wall. We found a fun tutorial for a DIY Book Headboard which would be great to try if you are a book lover and want something really unusual For more fun ideas, visit the Budget Decorator at

If you really want to recycle your unusable books… You could tear or cut each page out, making sure there is no glue from the spine on the individual pages. The individual pages can then be put in your kerbside recycling. The cover and spine should be put in your general waste bin.

J&B Recycling provide waste management solutions for business across the North of England. Our main Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is based in Hartlepool and we have a second site in Middlesbrough, making us ideally placed for collections across Teesside (Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Darlington). We also have a site in Washington and we operate established collection routes throughout Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if we can help with your waste collection.

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