Are you looking to clear out space on your book shelf? Do not throw them in the trash or your home recycling carts. Recycle BC does not accept hard cover and paperback books, such as novels, text books and reference material. Here are some tips for how to dispose of them responsibly.
2 Ways to Dispose of Old Books
If your books are gently used, they may be donated or sold. However, if they are damaged or have reached the end of their lifespan, there is now a convenient location available in Penticton where residents can drop off books to be recycled. Remember: books cannot be added into your home recycling carts. For lists of all options, click the links below.
If the book is not in good enough condition to be donated or reused, it may be recycled.
Place your book into a specialized recycling cart at these donations:
- Blue recycling bins from ‘Planet Earth Recycling’ at Penticton Public Library (located in the lobby outside the library next to the vending machines - see the photo below). Note these will be in place as a three-month trial to provide a more accessible and convenient location for Pentictonites to recycle their books.
- Book recycling bins at Campbell Mountain Landfill.
IMPORTANT: Note that these books will be destroyed and the paper recycled. The types of books that should be recycled include those that may be torn, missing pages and cannot be read again. Others include old textbooks, out of date guides, encyclopedias and informational books (such as health, travel and technology books) that are older than five years. Also, do NOT place any wet books into these carts.
Recycling Bins at Penticton Library
Recycling Bins at Campbell Mountain Landfill
If your book is gently used or recently purchased, consider donating it (list below).
Gently used books may be donated to:
- Penticton Library accepts books in good condition, informational books that are less than five years old, best-selling books and clean copies of classics.
- The Penticton Rotary collects books each spring ahead of its annual book sale. This year (April 1-15, 2023), they're collecting gently used books, games and puzzles. Drop donations off at Save-On Foods and IGA. The book sale will be held from April 18-22. For more details, visit the Rotary's website.
- Local charities or community organizations may accept them.
- Add your book to a ‘Little Library,’ which are located throughout the community, with a list of locations available in this blog.
- Interested in selling your books? Try selling them to The Book Shop in downtown Penticton, or sell them online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Recycle BC is a not-for-profit organization that is responsible for residential packaging and paper product recycling. Recycle BC does not accept hard cover and paperback books, such as novels, text books and reference material. Books of any kind should not be added to household recycling containers or garbage carts. This would count as contamination and negatively affects our community's success rates.
For more information about recycling in Penticton, visit our Recycling page.
The types of books that are generally not acceptable for donation include:
- Materials in poor condition (yellow pages, broken spines, musty smelling)
- Dated information, particularly in the sciences (older than 5 years)
- Old government publications
During a recent audit of Penticton residential recycling carts, it was found that hard and soft cover books were a high offender, which is increasing the community’s contamination rate. Previously, books could only be recycled at specialized bins located at Campbell Mountain Landfill, so the City launched a three-month trial to provide book recycling at a convenient and accessible location. This trial has since been renewed until the end of the year. This bins are located at the Penticton Library (in the lobby, near the vending machines).
The goal is to lower the percentage of books found in home recycling carts. If the City does not meet its goals set out by Recycle BC, it could lead to increased costs to deliver the program as a result of fines. It may also lead to a less convenient recycling service, such as having to sort everything into separate bins or bags, which has been shown to reduce contamination in other B.C. communities.
The books are shipped the company's warehouse in West Kelowna and sorted into three groups:
- Magazines: These are recycled along with residential paper and cardboard packaging as part of the Recycle BC program.
- 'Good' books: If books are found to be in good conditions, these are packaged into boxes and shipped to another business for possible resale.
- 'Bad' books: These include damaged books, foreign language books, cookbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, old text books, etc. These are processed one at a time through a book cutter, where the spines and covers are chopped off to recycle the paper.
Yes! This is an exception. According to Recycle BC, phone books are acceptable in your curbside recycling bins. If you have any question about what can or can't go in your bins, please enter the item into the online 'What Goes Where' tool on our Recycling webpage or phone the Recycle Hotline at 1-800-667-4321.
A Little Library is a small house built by a community member and often situated throughout residential communities. These books are offered for free on a “take a book, leave a book” system. They can be returned or passed on, although donations are always received. Penticton is now home to at least 15 little libraries.
For more information about recycling, visit our Recycling webpage.
If you would like to make a suggestion or report an issue, please fill out our online form and your comments will be directed to the appropriate person. If you'd rather speak with our waste reduction team, our contact info is below.
Download this postcard or print it off for some helpful tips for how to recycle or reuse your books.