Creative Ways for Your Children to Recycle Old Books

Living green might sound like an easy undertaking; all you have to do is stop polluting, avoid chemicals, and conserve water, energy, and other resources. But while the prospect may be simply stated, the inception is anything but, thanks to a modern society that relies heavily on disposable goods and chemical solutions. In truth, green living is a process that many of us never fully realize, simply because modern amenities make life so much easier. But we all keep plugging along, finding new ways to reduce our carbon footprint along the way without making our lives too difficult. And for many, this includes developing strategies to help our kids get on board with building a greener future. So when you find that your children have a glut of used books that are simply too thrashed to be re-gifted or given to charity, here are a few ways that you can get creative with the recycling process.

While it is certainly tempting to tear out pages and throw them in the bin devoted to recycled paper products, you might not have this option if the pages of your children’s books are treated (and many are). The glossy cardstock common in many such books is non-recyclable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find myriad other uses for it. One great option is to use it for other papery purposes. For example, you might save the colorful pages of your children’s books to use as wrapping paper for birthdays and other holiday gifting. Or you can cut out favorite images or lines of text to for kids to create their own greeting cards or stationery.

And of course, you can set up all kinds of craft projects. Although the winter holidays are over for another year, these pages could be saved to create dozens of different kinds of ornaments and decorations for your home. In the meantime you could also get templates online to cut out paper flowers (or use a die cutter) in order to make a virtual garden in every child’s room. You might also use artwork or text to design mobiles or make fun funky furniture with decoupage. Your kids can no doubt come up with some imaginative ideas, but if you’re stumped there are plenty of suggestions (along with tutorials) available online.

Of course, you might also use the paper from old books to create new paper. In case you didn’t know, paper is merely pressed wood pulp. So if you can turn it into pulp again, you can press your own, new pages. It’s not like you’d shell out the cash for discount textbooks to this end, but if you already have stock on hand that can’t be recycled in other ways, why not make your own unique pages for penning correspondence, copying recipes, or making grocery lists? This is something that you and your kids can have fun with and you don’t need to purchase a ton of equipment to get the job done. With a few common household items (large bowls for sifting, a strainer, and some heavy, flat books for pressing pages, etc.) you can quickly turn your kids’ old books into brand new paper.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*