Creatively Reusing and Recycling Books and Magazines
By Charles Hopkins
Published 09/20/2007 | Book Reviews
As more and more old-growth trees are cut down, and we face the reality
of having to wait close to 100 years or more to replace them, the need
for recycling paper gets greater and greater.
Paper, of course, includes books and magazines. And while they are
nearly 100% biodegradable, there is no point in sending these resources
to the dump to rot in the landfill when they are so reusable and
More than any other material we hope to recycle, books and
magazines represent knowledge. There is wisdom to be found in the pages
of old books, and culture to learn about in the pages of old magazines.
Because of this factor, the best thing to do with old books and
magazines is pass them on.
Libraries are usually very happy to receive donations of old books,
and sometimes even magazines, that are in good shape. This allows other
people to benefit from the publication as well. Once you have enjoyed
and learned from a book, rather than letting it sit on a shelf to
collect dust, donating it to a library is a great way to share and
The second choice, for both books and magazines, is to sell them to
a used bookstore, at a garage sale, flea market, or on eBay. Other
people may be looking for the exact book or magazine you have, so
passing it on by offering it for sale is a win-win scenario for you and
the new owner.
If you wish to reuse publications in a creative way, magazines make
good colorful craft supplies for children and adults alike. You can cut
out parts of pictures to make collages by pasting the picture pieces to
a cardboard backing, or make hanging mobiles by cutting out shapes,
stringing pieces of thread through holes at the top, and attaching the
strings to a clothes hanger.
You can also cut out whole pictures to construct a dream board or a
vision board, which helps you to think about and visualize the goals
and dreams you want to achieve; for instance, a Hawaiian vacation, a
certain type of job, or a new sports car.
As for traditional recycling, some areas will let you place books
or magazines in your blue bin for pickup as well. Magazines are
traditionally printed on glossy paper, which is more expensive to
recycle because there is not a high demand for products made from
recycled glossy paper; however, this will change in the future as the
need for recycling paper is seen and understood more and more.
The biggest challenge with recycling books and magazines is
separating the paper from the adhesives or staples used to bind the
pages. Forward-thinking recycling companies have a way to remove the
waste from the bindings magnetically, however, so we should soon be
seeing more and more opportunities to recycle all kinds of paper
So next time you're thinking about throwing away some books or
magazines, think first about how you can pass them along for others to
enjoy. If that doesn't work for you, try to reuse them creatively. And
if you still can't find a use for them, look for places to take them
where they can be recycled into new paper products, so we can save more