Machine Helps Keep Books Out Of Landfills

Machine Helps Keep Books Out Of Landfills

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Each year, it's estimated that about 40 percent of solid waste is made up of paper - mostly coming from books that are tossed in the trash.

A few months back, the Development Authority of the North Country teamed up with the North Country Library System to bring in a machine to salvage thousands of hardcover books and recycle them.

"With the hardcover books, the spine and the shell of the books cannot be recycled, but the paper inside can. So, we want to divert that from the waste-stream in the landfill and recycle them," said Hope VanBrocklin, recycling specialist with DANC.

If you're wondering how the machine works, it's pretty simple. All you have to do is put the book in bind first, take it back out, remove the covers and recycle the pages.

Paperback books can be recycled as a whole, and usually, hardcover books are thrown out. Libraries in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties are donating old books that can't be used anymore.

"We really do use every other avenue to get rid of books before we send them to the recycling center. When it's really out of date books that've been taken out of circulation, that have misinformation in them, or are just not relevant anymore," said Susan Mitchell, director of NCLS.

The machine can "de-bind" up to 1,000 books per hour. VanBrocklin says in a day's work, an entire load can get ready for recycling.

"I think the amount is probably astronomical - the things that can be recycled that we throw away. With hardcover books, we don't even think about it," she said.

Now that the North Country Library System will personally deliver books to the recycling facility, books can get transferred back into the environment and stay out of the landfill.

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