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Featured article...

Creative Paper Recycling

How To Reuse Books & Magazines

Did you know that a lot of the paper we use today is still manufactured from old-growth trees? Or that it takes close to 100 years or more for a tree to grow that size?

As more and more old-growth trees are cut down, the great need to recycle paper becomes paramount.

In addition to writing paper and cardboard products, tons of books and magazines find their way to the landfills. While they are nearly 100% biodegradable, there is no point in sending these resources to rot in the dump when they are so reusable and recyclable.

Books and magazines, more than any other material we hope to recycle, represent knowledge. Wisdom is found in the pages of old books. In pages of old magazines, we find a vivid representation of the day's culture. to learn about in the pages of old magazines.

Clearly, the best thing to do with old books and magazines is pass them on. What you may consider junk, old news or a dusty pile of paper taking up space might be collectible and bring joy to someone else.

Libraries are usually very happy to receive donations of old books, and sometimes even magazines that are in good shape. This allows other people to benefit from the publication as well. Once you have enjoyed and learned from a book, donating it to a library is a great way to share and reuse it.

The material might be appropriate for donation to nursing homes, adult centers, shelters and so forth. Doctors and other professional offices appreciate current magazines for their lobbies and waiting rooms.

Another choice is to sell your books and magazines. Other people may be looking for the exact book or magazine you have, so passing it on by offering it for sale is a win-win scenario for you and the new owner. Possible sales options are to a used bookstore, at a garage sale, flea market, or on online through used dealers or auction sites such as eBay.

Donating and selling your unwanted books and magazines are the most-favored options. But you can also get creative.

Magazines make great colorful craft supplies for children and adults alike. Cut out parts of pictures, then make collages by pasting the picture pieces to a cardboard backing. Or how about making hanging mobiles? Cut out shapes, string pieces of thread through holes at the top, and attach the strings to a clothes hanger.

You can also cut out whole pictures to construct a dream board or a vision board, which helps you to think about and visualize the goals and dreams you want to achieve, such as a tropical cruise or vacation, a certain job, a new sports car, boat or recreational equipment.

To recycle traditionally, some areas will let you place books or magazines in your blue bin for pickup, and others will not.

Magazines are traditionally printed on glossy paper, which is more expensive to recycle because there is not a high demand for products made from recycled glossy paper. This will likely change in the future as the need for recycling paper is seen and understood.

The biggest challenge with recycling books and magazines is separating the paper from the adhesives or staples used to bind the pages. Forward-thinking recycling companies have a way to remove the waste from the bindings magnetically, however, so we should soon be seeing more opportunities to recycle all kinds of paper products.

So, the next time you're thinking about throwing away some books or magazines, consider how you might pass them along for others to enjoy.

If you have an artistic bent, try to reuse them creatively.

And if you still can't find a use for them, look for places to take them where they can be recycled into new paper products. The saved trees and Mother Earth will thank you!

But for the moment...