Sustainability made simple

Book Recycling: How to Recycle Paperback, Hardcover and Magazines

recycling books
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap

Can you recycle books to free up your space? Recycling books is an easy and sustainable way to reduce clutter and keep trash out of landfills. Here's how!

Living sustainably means limiting the strain you put on the planet. This can sometimes be easier said than done, but it’s essential to recycle whenever possible. Paper recycling saves landfill space and conserves trees, oil, energy and water. But can you recycle books?

Recycling books can mostly be done through your regular paper recycling program and isn’t difficult. Follow the easy tips below to learn how to recycle your books properly and keep your space — and landfills — a little less full.

Before throwing them in the recycling, consider finding new and exciting ways to repurpose your books instead. 

Recycling Paperback Books and Magazines

Donate your books to a local library or recycle them.
Donate your books to a local library or recycle them.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / ElasticComputeFarm)

Recycling paperback books and magazines might be the most straightforward part of paper recycling because they are often only mixed paper bases and can be efficiently processed. You have a few options.

Curbside Recycling

Can you recycle books and magazines? If you want to responsibly dispose of them, you’re in luck — most curbside recycling programs accept both. Just put them with your paper recycling. Follow these tips to ensure that they are ready to go:

  • Paperbacks can go into the bin with your regular paper recycling. You don’t need to remove covers or alter them beforehand. 
  • Magazines can also go into the bin. You do not need to remove the staples. The only additional step is to remove any plastic sleeves before adding magazines to paper recycling (remember to recycle the plastic).


You can easily donate your paperback books and magazines to locations like the Salvation Army, or other charities, to schools or libraries in your neighborhood. Local jails and prisons are also excellent choices. These places usually have a drop-off area where you can leave boxes of books and other items. Just remember to check their open times before you go.

Furthermore, you may find little free libraries near these locations where you can donate a book or swap it for another. 

Can You Recycle Hardcover Books?

Can you recycle books? Paperbacks and hardcovers can be disposed of easily.
Can you recycle books? Paperbacks and hardcovers can be disposed of easily.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Kranich17)

Hardcover books are a little bit more tricky. Their hard covers cannot always be recycled in the same way as paperbacks. Before you recycle these, carefully remove their covers. Then you can put books in your curbside recycling or donate them. 

Have other everyday products you’re not sure how to dispose of? We’ve got you covered.



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