Over 2 billion books are published annually in the United States, which is about six books per person every year! It takes one tree to make about 25 books, so reusing or recycling books helps to reduce deforestation. Whether you have textbooks or a paperback bestseller to get rid of, most books can be reused or recycled.
Recycling & Disposal Information:
Check with your local recycling drop-off site to see if they accept books. Residents of the Twin Cities also can bring books for recycling to these locations:
- Hennepin County Drop-Off Facilities in Brooklyn Park and Bloomington, 612-348-3777 (Paperback only)
- Dakota County Recycling Zone, 3365 Dodd Road, Eagan, 651-905-4520 (Remove hard covers)
- Pioneer Paper Stock, 155 N. Irving Ave., Minneapolis, 612-374-2280
- Coon Rapids Recycling Center, 1831 111th Ave. NW, Coon Rapids, 763-767-6485
- Books for Africa, 715 E Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul, 612-251-8896
- GreenerRead, look for drop-off bins around the region
Books also can be shipped for free to specific charities including Better World Books and St. Simon Publishing.
Most residential curbside haulers will accept paperback books. Contact your hauler to see if they accept paperback and hardcover books.
Books are non-hazardous and can be placed in the garbage if you can’t find a reuse or recycling option.
Reduce the amount of new printed books you purchase by buying used books, borrowing books from libraries or friends, and downloading e-books.
Cleaning out your bookshelf? Here are some ideas to pass on books instead of disposing of them:
- Local libraries use donated books to stock their shelves or sell them at fundraising events.
- Charitable organizations and thrift stores sell good books to people who might not be able to buy expensive new ones.
- Donate or pick up a book at a nearby Free Little Library.
- Hospitals and assisted living centers have patients that would love to read a good book.
- Trade your books with other bibliophiles on sites like Freecycle or PaperBookSwap.
- Sell books online or at local used books stores.