Creative and unique ways to recycle your old books

There are many unused and outdated books lying around in some dingy corner of our house serving no ultimate use to us than we giving them off for discarding. It is simply a sad spectacle to us the book lovers that they should have such an inglorious and sad end. Opting for ebook readers certainly is a part of the solution. However, there are many book lovers out there who still prefer reading the hardcopy. Nevertheless, these hardcopies too, after endless borrowing and lending, would ultimately get old and ultimately you would have to make the tough decision to part with them. The best option at times like these would be to recycle your old books into something creative.

Read More: Do you have to be paperless to be a green company?

Is ecofriendly paper a good alternative to regular paper?

Regular paper is made from wood pulp and in today’s age of fast consumption and usage it seems as if it may be our only way out. Why? Because ecofriendly paper for daily use is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to using regular paper. 

Basic difference in production

Recycling beltEco-friendly paper for daily use is recycled instead of made from fresh cut trees.  Regular paper is made from wood pulp but the process is a series of steps: the timber is cut and milled into pulp which in turn is formed into brand new paper. Eco-friendly, or recycled paper, on the other hand, is basically reusable content: newspapers, junk mails, packaging material and scrap paper leftovers from factories and paper mills.  These materials are processed to remove ink, bleached or dyed and then sold to be used again. 

Benefits of recycled material

Aside from the issue of reducing carbon footprint, recycled paper is also beneficial in containing paper waste. Unused paper is usually sent to landfills but recycling the paper would mean less waste and less land cordoned off for waste disposal.  Saving the trees from being cut also results in having better air quality and biodiversity, this, in turn, helps the ecosystem.

Recycled paper consumes less water, bleach and chemicals during the production process. It also prevents methane production which is a byproduct of making paper. 

Challenges of eco-friendly paper

junk material needs to be recoveredAs beneficial as recycled paper maybe there are some drawbacks to it. Paper directly from trees requires a maximum of three steps: logging, milling and distribution, but for eco-friendly paper production, the procedure is slightly more complicated. First, the junk material needs to be recovered and sorted which means removing adhesives and staples- a painstaking process.  Then this material is sent for pulping and de-inking to remove the ink and then finally it is sent to the mill to be made into paper. This is the reason recycled paper tends to cost more than ordinary paper, as the additional processes add to the cost. Currently, the cost of ecofriendly paper varies from company to company but it is more expensive than regular paper, regardless of which company the consumer chooses. 

Brands to choose from

As ecofriendly paper becomes more common there is bound to be an industry based around it and there are few companies already vying to be a part of the best names in ecofriendly paper industry. The Canadian company Cascades has a worldwide presence with factory outlets in Canada, America and France. New Leaf Paper, based in California is another company with a strong mission statement: It was the first to market with 100% post-consumer papers of unparalleled brightness and printing specifications, and has saved more than 3 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water in the process, according to their website.

It seems as though the best names in ecofriendly paper industry are mostly located in the United States. Apart from New Leaf Paper there is also the Greenfield Paper company, located in San Diego and Boise Aspen paper-headquarters in Chicago with several factories around the nation. Both these companies often come up with new products and eco-friendly choices and are set to flourish in the coming years. 

Do it yourself ideas

ecofriendly-paperOne defining factor in using recycled paper is the abundance of eco-friendly paper DIY ideas at disposal. Old newspaper clippings can be reused to make customized paper, all one needs is to make a screen mold and paper pulp. The pulp is added to the screen and left to dry and then what you have left is ready to use recycled paper. It can be made in any color, size and shape and can be used to make paper dishes and scrapbook material. 

Amazing ways to recycle your old books

By using your ingenuity and imagination, you can really recycle your old books into items of utility and even works of art. This new wave in the artist’s realm has been termed variably as ‘Book Sculpturing’ and ‘Paper Art’. Here are a few tips to kindle your imagination-

1. Paper Book Page flowers Paper Book Page flowers

These paper made flowers are available in the markets like the ‘paper Daisies’ by Cotton Bird. However, by using some of our ingenuity, we can create them at our home as well. Strips of papers from old books or simply folded pages from them can be used to make fancy flowers. All we need are some old books to get the paper, glue and some wires to make sticks for these flowers.

2. Book Purse


We can put the discarded book boards of the old books to some fanciful use by creating this unique Book Purse. The top and the bottom of the board are first secured with canvas cloth or any other piece of thick cloth. Handles are made of strings induced into holes drilled on the opposite sides of the open front. Finally, by placing an additional piece of cloth on the top, flap of the purse can be made.

3. Book Sculptures

 Book Sculptures

One does not always need to dismember a book in order to create fanciful items out of them. By using some practiced skills on chiseling out or simple folding the edges of the pages of a book, we can create some marvelous pieces of sculpturing. The letters like LOVE and SORRY are made this way and they make as much a unique piece of decoration for your drawing room as they do an admirable gift for your beau or girl friend.

4. Book Photo Frame Book Photo Frame

This photo frame is made without causing any extensive damage to the book. To begin with, we centrally mark lines on the front side of the book board slightly more than that of the photo we wish to frame inside it. Then we slice away the piece of the board so marked with the help of a knife from the inside but without damaging the cloth on the outside.

Then we cut an inner space on the front page of the book to create the borders. We cut the cloth diagonally and tuck it inwards. Then we place picture behind the borders and close the book or seal it with tapes to secure the photo inside. Our photo frame is complete. This photo frame forms an ideal gift.

5. Stationary Book Box Box made of old Book

The making of this box is simple. We begin with cutting out the pages of the book in one single file without damaging the boards of the books. The top pages of the book are marked according to the space we want to create inside the box, leaving a broad margin on all the four sides. We cut all the pages regularly to give a clean look on the inside.

Of all that is left of the pages, we then glue them together with one flap of the cover board to create the base of the box, leaving the other to act like a cover. Our stationary box is ready.

Great ways to transform your home décor using old books

Although in this digital age, everything from books to newspapers are available in a digital format, there are still a few who believe that the best way to read a book is from printed-paper. Although we don’t encourage such a behavior, especially considering the fact that producing paper by cutting down trees, won’t take us long into the future, we still believe that there are ways you can do your bit for the environment by simply transforming old and read books into works of art to grace your home’s interior space. Here are a few such innovative projects that you can undertake during the weekend to spruce up your home décor using nothing but old hardbound pieces of literature.

Employ old books for a classy home décor

1.    Create a planter:

Create a planterThere is nothing better than using paper to plant something that can better your ambience and give you a few ounces of freshly created oxygen to breathe. Hence, if you want to give your old books a new life, consider hollowing out the book from between in circular shape and fill in some soil into the void. Once done you can plant either a few seeds or a small plant directly into the soil. Place it in sunshine, water it lightly and voila, you have given a new life to an old book.

2.    Book Lamp:

Book LampBook’s are just good for reading, especially if you have a creative mind and skills to be innovative. If you want to better your home’s ambience without spending hours in creating an entirely new product out of an old book, you can simply unfurl the book by connecting the front and the rear of the book, creating a circular shape. Once done, simply hang a bulb holder in between by hollowing out just enough paper to create space for the bulb. Use a small 10-15W bulb inside to ensure your creation doesn’t get on fire and enjoy the visually pleasing illumination.

3.    Fill up your fireplace:

Fill up your fireplaceWe all enjoy lighting up a few logs of wood during Christmas to heat up the ambience. However, for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint, by using insulation and energy efficient appliances and ditching the heat from burning logs inside their home, can simply fill up the space with tens of old books and magazines, thereby improving your home’s décor by leaps and bounds.

4.    Create wallpaper:

Create wallpaperWith old books and some creative skills, you can easily rival the aesthetic appeal of even the most expensive wallpaper. All you have to do is to remove individual pages from a bound book and stick it to your wall one-by-one without leaving any gaps in between. Once your wall is entirely covered, you can improve the visual appearance by simply sticking a decorative sticker on top of the wallpaper and admire the beauty.

5.    Unconventional necklace

Unconventional necklaceThis is best and creative idea you can put in action. You can cut some pieces from your old book and turn it into an amazing necklace. You can take a chain and go crazy with your style. The paper pieces will take all the attention and will give you a unique look.

6.    Book key holder

Book key holderGrab your vintage book that is lying in one corner doing nothing all covered with dirt. How about giving them some work? Your old book will carry your keys from now on. How? It’s simple, turn your old rugged book into a key holder that will also give a new life to your book and newness to your home.

7.    Innovative mailbox

Innovative mailboxYou can tear all the pages from your old book that has hard and attractive outer cover. This intelligent and unique mailbox design will add some individuality to your home.

8.    Page your wall

Page your wallThis idea will be most loved by all the book lovers, you can take all your old books and tear their pages and attach all the pages on the wall. It will give your room a vintage feel and the vanilla scent of old and yellow pages will make you feel as if you are actually living with your books.

9.    Paper pencil holder

Paper pencil holderAll those bulky and big books can turn into eye catching pencil or pen holder. Your desk’s highlight will be this pretty and extraordinary stationary holder. This is really an innovative and creative way to add some liveliness to your home décor. 

A final note on great ways to recycle old books

Books are the real givers and each time you open them you will find a treasure of knowledge. Apart from rendering knowledge, old books can be turned into something valuable too. How about transforming your old books and adding character to your home? Gather all your old books, crumple paged covers, and turn them into an interesting display. Mentioned above are some spectacular examples of how you can turn your old wrinkled book into something so precious and beautiful.

Books always inspire us to do something indeed this time we are inspired to do something with books. You can put some creative ideas in giving different, unique and new life to your old books.Recycling books is an eco-friendly way of living not just by recycling them but also by converting them into items of utility.

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