Bookshop @ 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol

What happens when a book is recycled?

Recycling-TypographyBooks for Amnesty is stocked entirely by donations. Every day we get boxes of lovely books brought in and we are so grateful because this is what keeps us running. But what happens when we get twenty copies of Dan Browns ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or when we get books missing their front covers or covered in crayon?

When we sort the donations, books like this are set aside. They are then collected by our recycling company ReuseABook, who pay us a small amount per crate.

Some of the Bookshop volunteers recently visited the recycling centre in Stroud where our books are recycled. This is what they had to say:

It was a very interesting visit and we learned much more about what happens to our books after they have gone off in the bags. We thought you might like to hear about it.

It aspires to be as ‘green’ as possible and thus uses electric vehicles in the local area. It provides regular employment for local people who deal with the administration of the recycling process, sort and organise books for distribution and deal with packaging for books sold through the internet. Some employees are part-time to fit in with their needs and others are full time. All have regular contracts.

Books for recycling arrive from many charity shops in local areas in the south west and are stored for sorting in a very large warehouse.

The books are re-sorted and those that are suitable to be sent abroad go off to be loaded into large shipping containers. Two containers go regularly to Africa where they are distributed to schools. One goes regularly to India where a bookseller sells them cheaply. Many tons of books are distributed in this way

Other suitable books, like our good condition ‘duplicate’ paperbacks and good condition non-fiction hardbacks are sold over the internet. Each book is given a code and is stored in a vast network of storage boxes in the warehouse, each box with its own code. When a book is sold on the internet it is sourced from these boxes, packaged and distributed. They distribute about 1000 a day.

The proceeds from these sales helps fund the recycling business but a proportion is always given to charity. In a year £250000 was distributed to various charities including cancer research and animal welfare.

Any unsuitable books and our cardboard go to be recycled in to paper and card.

The shop is also part of a profit share scheme with Reuse a Book. We send off a selection of good quality books with a value of over £5 and with either an ISBN number or a bar code. These are sold on the internet and the shop receives 65% of the sales. Since November our proportion of the sales has been £1300. A very profitable scheme for us – books sell for more money and we have another opportunity to reduce our everlasting stock !.

Reuse a Book is, we feel, doing a fantastic job to ensure nothing goes to landfill and that everything finds another use. It is an environmentally friendly organisation which is also supporting charities and book distribution abroad as well as providing local employment.

So…. When you are recycling a book, be joyful that it has another life and that by recycling it, you are giving a gift to someone else, somewhere else.