recycling hard cover booksRecycling hard cover books? My book loving friends may be aghast at this idea, but sometimes it’s necessary.  The main reason is probably when downsizing your belongings, especially to move to a smaller home.

There are times when I’m helping a client to downsize, and they have a lot of books – paperback and hard cover books, and also magazines. Some of their books have seen better days and are not in good enough shape to donate, which is the best form of recycling.

As I just mentioned, the best way to recycle is donation, as is typically the case with every item, if the item is in good shape, but what if it isn’t?

Curbside recycling will take paperbacks, but recycling hard cover books is prohibited. You may think, as I did, that books are made from paper, so it makes sense that they would accept them for recycling, but the hard cover is the issue.

During some internet research, I learned that the hard covers are made from a variety of materials such as cloth, leather or plastic. Also, the glue that adheres the binding can be difficult to remove.  This is the reason that recycling hard cover books is prohibited as a whole.

You can take the time to tear out the pages, throw them into the recycle bin, and toss the hard cover in the trash bin. That seems to be the only way at this time for recycling hard cover books, in terms of curbside recycling, according to my internet research.

Another form of recycling, is to repurpose an item for another use, or to create a piece of art. For all those creative minds out there, I’m sure you know that hard back books can be used to create crafts. If you need some ideas, I encourage you to check out

Let’s revisit the option of donation for recycling hard cover books that are in good condition. The list below shows some of those options. If you have others, please share them in the comment box below.

  • Public libraries – they accept hard cover books, and paperbacks, that are in good condition, but no magazines. Those that they don’t use in the library system are sold for a nominal fee at their locations.
  • Second-hand book stores – this is another option for books that are in good condition. Depending on the books value, they may buy it, but if that’s not an issue, they will take them as donations.
  • Charity thrift stores – all charity thrift stores accept books as donations.
  • BetterWorldBookshas drop boxes around the US to donate all types of hard cover books that are in good condition.