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Green Literacy: How Recycling Books Can Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Last donation cycle alone, Books are Wings kept 76,899 books out of landfills and gave gently used books a new life. Book donation through BAW changes lives by improving access to reading materials and supporting early reading, increasing language exposure and family bonding. Book donation also keeps books out of recycling centers and reduces the load on our local disposal systems. We recently spoke with Krystal Noiseux, Education and Outreach Manager at Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation to learn more about how you can effectively donate and recycle books and the environmental impact of reusing items.


“Our most recent (2015) waste characterization study estimated that 840 tons of books were landfilled that year. That’s 1.68 million pounds books that could have found a second life through reuse or through recycling.” Noiseux says. Books Are Wings accepts gently used children’s books, keeping them out of landfills and building the libraries of local families.

Speaking on the process of sorting books, Noiseux shares tips about recycling: “While some book collection organizations, like Books Are Wings, are specific in what they are looking for gently used children’s books only, others will accept any book in decent condition i.e. no mold or mildew. Those organizations sort books and decide which can be resold, donated, or recycled. Just like BAW, if they can’t find a reuse avenue for a book, they can recycle those with softcovers as is, and they have the equipment to safely remove the hard covers, so the paper can be recycled.”


Noiseux reminds us the importance of the “reuse” in the three r’s, and shared that giving items a second or third life before recycling reduces the impact on waste systems. “While you can do the same at home by recycling softcover books as is or remove hardcovers prior to recycling, it’s always best to find an avenue for donation when you can. Never forget that “reuse” comes before “recycle” for a reason in three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. After making efforts to reduce the amount of waste we generate to begin with, it’s then most impactful to keep materials circulating through our economy for as long as possible through reuse efforts. Donating books is a great example of reuse in action.”

By supporting Books Are Wing’s mission of getting FREE books into the hands of children all around Rhode Island, you are directly reducing the load on local recycling systems and reducing the impact on our environment.


To learn more about book donation with Books Are Wings, visit our website: To learn more about book recycling with RIRIC, visit their donation page:

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