Cardboard donation box full of books. Donation concept. Help for children, support for poor kid. Social care, volunteering and charity concept. Donation box book.

How to recycle books

Stories play a huge part in our lives, and books give us a chance to sift through a new tale. However, only some people like to hold on to every book they have read. That’s why it’s good to know how books are recycled so you can make room for something new to sit on your shelf.

Books are created using logger-cut trees that have had the bark sliced off. Big woodchippers chop the logs into small bits, which are then boiled and moulded into sheets of paper.

As books are made of trees, many believe they are easily recyclable. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, as the glue that binds the pages together can’t be directly recycled. However, there are many solutions to this!

Donate your books

The first option to consider is donating your books, as plenty of places always need donations.

The books you have are likely to have been read once, twice, or even a few times before it was popped back on the shelf. However, if it’s still in great condition, it’s perfectly fine to be donated to one of the below places.

  • Charity shop The local charity shop is the most obvious place to donate your books. Some charity shops may not sell books or even be fully stocked, so ring ahead to find out if they have space. If not, you can always find another charity shop with space or donate elsewhere.
  • Hospitals Many hospitals appreciate donations of books for patients to read, so it may be worth contacting your local hospital to see if they accept donations.
  • Schools/Education centres Schools may also appreciate it if you donate old textbooks, which are generally dated and used for a good few years within the school curriculum. They will likely also appreciate children’s storybooks that teachers can read to their classes.
  • Local library Books that are in very good condition may be accepted by a local library. Your donation will either be included in the borrow section or ex-stock for sale to help the library raise money for new books.

Wherever you choose to donate your books, make sure to call ahead first to ensure that your donations will be happily accepted. Books can be heavy when carried in boxes or big piles, so checking where you are hoping to donate to can accept the books will save you a journey.

Recycle books for cash

Recycling your old books by selling them can help you gain some extra cash on the side and free up some storage space (for more books).

Places you can sell your unwanted books include:

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a great place to list unwanted items, allowing you to sell books to people in your local area. Arrange pick-up or collection with the person you’re selling the books to and save yourself the postage fees.


eBay is a great place to list your books for sale, and it’s more than likely they will sell if the books you have listed are new. It’s essential to identify specific details about your book, including whether it’s a hardback or paperback copy and things like the publisher.

There can be a massive difference between limited edition copies and first editions to more common editions. Search on eBay for similar listings to find out how much your books are worth. Once your books have sold, you can simply pop them in the post. Although you do need to double-check the listing fees at the time of your listing, as sometimes it is free and other times they charge.


Gumtree marketplace is also a great online platform to list your books for sale. Generally, plenty of people are looking for second handbooks to enjoy and Gumtree is another place where it is free to list, and someone in your local area can collect the items for a fee. This selling option is very similar to Facebook Marketplace.

Music Magpie

Music Magpie is a great place to send your books for cash. Simply scan the barcodes to get a quote, pop them in a box, and send them directly to the company for extra cash. This option can be a nice, quick and easy way to make some extra cash and avoid waiting around after posting your listing on the other sites.

Why you should recycle your books

Close up of asian man checking interesting book from bookcase to searching a book and taking off book from the bookshelf in library while reading a book to relaxation from work hard

Books go through a lengthy process to end up in your possession and deserve to have a longer life. You should always recycle books instead of simply throwing them away, as they are still readable after more than just one or two reading sessions

Recycle your books through Forge Recycling with other household items, such as pens and carpets that can be saved from landfills and prevent further environmental damage.