Textbook Recycling

Collaborative Effort Between NWF, McGraw-Hill, and NewPage Corporation Results in the Development of Best Practices to Increase Book Recycling

Report Cover

Over 4.3 billion books are produced annually in the United States for a variety of sectors and purposes. Unfortunately, many books – after their end of useful life – end up in landfills. To address this, National Wildlife Federation, McGraw-Hill, and NewPage Corporation entered into a collaborative project to study textbook recycling in the United States, pilot a recycling project, and develop best practices to increase textbook recycling.  This report “ A Research Study on Textbook Recycling in America:  Recommendations for Proper Disposal and Repurposing at the End of a Textbook’s Useful Life”  is based primarily on what currently happens to textbooks at the end of their useful  life.  While the original assumption was that recycling books would be challenging, the research indicates that it requires discipline, structure, organization, an outlet and method for disposal and processing of books, and a change in behavior when it comes to educating the public about the recyclability of books.


In late 2010, the National Wildlife Federation was awarded a generous grant from the McGraw-Hill Companies to develop and conduct a pilot textbook recycling and research project which would benefit McGraw-Hill’s sustainability commitment, NewPage Corporation’s desire to increase recovered fiber in the U.S., and National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) environmental education and sustainability programs, Eco- Schools USA and Campus Ecology.

For the purposes of this project, we focused on the K-12 educational sector, the higher education sector, and book publishers.  The intent of this report is to highlight the lifecycle of textbooks, from production through disposal, and to provide needed information and recommendations to various interested sectors on how they might establish a textbook recycling program at their school, university, or in their community. 

Recycle Books 

After all, an unusable or unwanted book is a terrible thing to waste.



Review full project report, A Research Study On Textbook Recycling in America 

Review Executive Summary, A Research Study On Textbook Recycling in America

Report Highlights include:

The following institutions were featured:

Login to Eco-Schools USA

Join Eco-Schools USA 

Go to the Eco-Schools Facebook page Go to the Eco-Schools Twitter page Go to the Eco-Schools Flickr page Go to the Eco-Schools YouTube page go to the Eco-Schools Google Plus page Go to the Eco-Schools Pinterest page

Get our monthly emails!

Green Ribbon Schools
Dept of Education 

The U.S. Department of Education announced in April 2011 the creation of the Green Ribbon Schools program to recognize schools that are creating healthy and sustainable learning environments and teaching environmental literacy. Click here to learn more!