The Gulf News reader and her brother say books in good condition must be passed on to someone else.


Recycling is one of the most basic, yet effective ways to contribute towards safeguarding our planet. The more we recycle, the slower the rate would be at which our natural resources are depleted. But, do all books deserve to go to the recycling centre?

Paper is one of the most used products in the world. However, before you reach out for the recycling bin, ask yourself, can a book be of use to someone else?

My brother and I have been collecting paper for recycling for the past four years. But, something that has always struck me while going through all the paper we collect, is that the discarded lot contains useful reading material.

We collect paper by going around the neighbourhood or people drop it in the box we keep outside our apartment. We also return with bags full of paper when we visit friends. While piling up all the collected paper, we always find that along with old newspapers, notebooks, brochures, flyers, magazines and receipts, there are books that certainly do not deserve to go to the recycling centre!

There are novels, children’s storybooks, reference books, old school textbooks and even a couple of dictionaries, which are in perfect condition. It is a pity to think that these were about to go to the recycling centre, even though they can still tell stories, impart wisdom and enlighten minds.

If you reuse something, you are reducing the strain on recycling facilities and extending the lifespan of a commodity.

While talking to one of my neighbours, Sarah Jaleel, a Dubai-based pupil, I realised that others thought like me, too.

She said: “Books should not end up in trash cans or recycle bins. Passing on books is helpful for the environment and it builds relationships. It is the Year of Giving, and by passing on books, we can show our love for the environment as well as pass on something that we’ve loved and enjoyed, to someone else.”

She came across one of the beach libraries in Dubai and was amazed by this idea. She said: “I believe there should be more mini libraries all over the nation, where anyone can donate books.”

Itisha Dalal, another pupil based in Dubai, agreed and believes that instead of disposing our books in recycle bins, we should share the knowledge.

She said: “Knowledge has to be respected and passed on. Anyone who values and respects knowledge would never trash a book.”

Recycling should be done when a product has reached the last stage of its lifespan. A book in good condition has definitely not!

Along with my brother, I always go through the paper we collect and segregate the books to donate to libraries and nonprofit organisations. Through this report, I want to urge all readers to be very careful about the paper they are recycling. Books in good condition must be passed on to someone else.

Once the academic session is over, pass on your old books to your juniors. Books can also be donated to the school library where they would be passed on from one eager reader to another. You could also organise a book swap with your family and friends. There are also many book collection drives. These books are then donated to the less fortunate.

Before you recycle, rethink.

— The reader is a pupil based in Dubai.

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