While paper products are mostly biodegradable - nearly one hundred percent - a great amount of those include books and magazines. Why send them to a landfill when they’re easy to reuse and recycle?
The truth is that old books and magazines do have cultural and historical value. Not only is a good idea to pass them on, but some can even be valuable to collectors! As your kids are growing up, it’s important to teach them about the value of these printed materials after they are done with them.
Of course, you can also send old books and magazines to the recycling bin, especially if they are quite beat up. But,not all recycling companies accept them just as they are. So, what are some good ways to reuse and recycle books and magazines than simply throwing them away?
Donate Old Books and Magazines to Local or College Libraries
Have a bunch of books and magazines that your kids no longer use? Ask your kids which books and magazines they are willing to let go. All kinds of libraries, both public libraries and school libraries, will happily accept donations of old books and magazines in good condition.
The best condition copies of some of the books you donate will end up on library shelves. Others will be put out on racks for sale. These books will be also often used for running fundraisers to raise money for library improvements. In any case, it’s better than letting them gather dust in your home or storage unit
Sell Valuable Old Books and Magazines
There are many resources online to see what your old books and magazines are worth. Several websites exist that allow you to type in or scan the barcode numbers of mass-market books. They will pay you cash and even send you a shipping label to cover shipping costs. However, be aware they usually pay you a small percentage of what the item is actually worth.
Used bookstores still exist, of course. But, many are very picky with what they’ll buy and some don’t actively buy - but accept donations. Also, not everyone has them locally.
There are always flea markets, too. These can be great events to bring your kids to in order to teach them how to run a sale. But, you want to be sure that you’re actually selling something worth bringing and paying for the table space.
Then there’s garage sales, but they typically aren’t big sellers for books and magazines unless you get lucky. One thing that can sell, though, piles of classic magazines like Highlights, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated.
Speaking of classic magazines, in great shape, they can be worth money. Covers featuring celebrities or sports stars can fetch good money on eBay. For example, you can find many Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated magazines for sale online.
eBay is your best bet for selling books and magazines with actual demand. It’s easy enough to find out - just check current listings and completed listings and see if your book or magazine is anything that sells.
Creative Ways to Reuse Books and Magazines
For books with illustrations or pictures and magazines that don’t have any resale value, you may decide to use them for creative purposes instead. Magazines in particular make excellent craft supplies for both kids and adults. They make great material for collages or scrapbooks. You can even make DIY hanging mobile art with magazine cutouts. You string thread through holes cut into the tops of the shapes and attach the shapes to a clothes hanger.
Another creative option is cutting out articles or pictures to create a vision board or dream board. These can help you visualize goals and dreams you want to achieve in your life - sort of like a visual bucket list. You can create one alongside your kids, as they are good activities for any age. These can include a dream career, a special vacation, or a fancy new car.
Throwing Unwanted Books and Magazines into the Recycling Bin
Whatever you don’t feel like donating, reselling, or reusing creatively, you can always throw into the recycling bin. This includes books and magazines that are in poor condition or ones you’ve already used for cutouts. You’ll want to check what your local recycling pickup or drop-off center accepts first,
Fortunately, there are more areas accepting books and magazines as-is all the time. This includes even magazines printed on glossy paper. Because glossy paper is in much lower demand than regular paper, recycling companies don’t get as much in return as raw material. But, now some companies will take it anyway.
In some areas, to recycle old books you still have to separate the paper from the bindings, whether there’s adhesive or staples - or both - involved in holding them together. There are companies who can remove these bindings with their machinery. But, having to deconstruct books and magazines just for recycling can be a major hassle. So, donating them may be a better option for you if this type of extra labor is involved.
So, if you and your family have some books and magazines you need out of your way, take these good ways to reuse them in mind. Not only is it a good idea to give people another chance to enjoy them, but keeping them out of landfills is great for the environment. Whatever you do, make sure to reuse and recycle whatever paper products you can to save as many trees as we can. Let’s be sure our kids have a very green future!