Consider Donation
If the item is still usable, please donate. Visit Athens’ Material Reuse page for ideas.

Paperback books are allowed in the recycling in small amounts. Large loads of books (more than 100) may be issued as trash due to excess glue contamination. Just like paper or cardboard, if the books are damaged by water, food, smoke, or similar contaminants they are not acceptable in the recycling bin and should be placed in rtrash bin.

Hardcover books go in the trash.

The following book types or accessories go in the trash: hardcover books, tactile books with mixed materials, plastic coated sleeves, water resistant paper, and books made from material other than wood pulp (i.e. bamboo, plastic resin, stone, elephant poop).

Books that play music must be disposed of as hazardous waste

Alternative disposal: research at-home composting options for non-wood pulp paper. Note, stone paper is bonded with plastic, please place in the trash.

Ways to Reduce

library card

Check Out from the Library

Take advantage of your library and check out books. Checking out books, instead of buying them brand-new, saves paper and keeps more old books out of landfills.

Ways to Reuse


Free Little Library

Free Little Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. There are over 32,000 registered little libraries that are spread out across all fifty states and seven countries. Find a free little library.

Make a Donation

Drop off unwanted books at a charity or thrift shop. You can donate children books to the Boys and Girls Club and academic books to the Bridge to Asia program.

Sell Your Books

Consider selling old books at a yard sale or to a bookstore that sells used books. There are also online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or AbeBooks.

Did You Know?

The Environmental Impact of Books

Two billion books are purchased annually in the United States. Keep in mind that one tree makes only about 25 books.