Greener Pastures for Old Books

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The following is a guest post by Alexis Bonari

Take a look at those old, heavy textbooks on your shelves.  How many trees had to be cut down to produce them? Make sure those resources didn’t go to waste by leaving the books to collect dust on your shelves.

Keeping a library of books can contribute to a significant impact on the environment:  Think of all that paper being created and printed to publish the millions of books that are released each year.  There are a number of things you can do to help lessen your impact:

Donate Your Books

Are you really going to re-read Shakespeare’s Complete Works? Or are you really going to ever get around to reading War and Peace? Take a look at your bookshelf: There are probably dozens of books that you will never read or will never read again. There are several organizations to which you can donate these books:

  • Your local library
  • A local school or college
  • A prison
  • Goodwill
  • The Salvation Army
  • A pet rescue (for re-sale)

Consider the theme and content of the books you are donating before you choose your recipient. After all, you don’t want to send a bunch of Stephen King novels to the local elementary school!

Hold Swaps

Your friends and family members likely have just as many books on their shelves that they could part with if they were being honest. Hosting a book swap is a great way for you to get rid of some of your old books and to pick up some new ones. You and your friends and family members can “recycle” your old books and can get some new reads without having to buy new books.

Re-Sell Your Books

If you don’t want to donate them, try re-selling them to a local college bookstore. It’s best to do this right after your classes end since textbook publishers are quick to come out with new editions, but often, the old editions still contain the same material on slightly different page numbers and can still be useful.

Don’t Buy New

When you are shopping for new books, you can also help reduce your environmental impact by buying books used. You can often find books in “like new” condition, and buying used lessens the demand for the production of new books. If you don’t like to go to used bookstores hoping for the best when you’re looking for something specific, try online vendors like Amazon or eBay, which also sell used books. Of course, the library is a great source of “used” books that you don’t ever have to buy!

Get an e-Reader

Finally, one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t contribute to the creation of new books is to abandon print completely. There are many e-readers available now, and thousands of books are being made available in electronic version. If you can give up the feel of turning pages in your hands, e-readers offer you all of your same favorite books without the burden of using natural resources or taking up extensive space on your shelves.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching finance scholarship programs as well as English studies scholarship programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

photo by The Creative Penn

Tag(s): Conserving Resources, Going Green


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