©Getty Images

Let’s save old books!

Posted on 28 June 2018.

Established in seven major French cities, RecycLivre recycles for free, sorts, and sells or recycles thousands of books.

Recover books for free, sort, then resell or recycle thousands of them is the mission RecycLivre has set itself. An old book rescue operation with two commitments: one to sustainable development and the other to the social and solidarity economy. "The fate of a book we want to get rid of should not be the cellar, the recycling bin, or the dump," says RecycLivre on its website.

For more than ten years, the company founded by David Lorrain in Paris, and now located in seven major French cities, has been offering private individuals, associations, local authorities, libraries and businesses a free book recovery service that gives them a second life.

For example, libraries with no conservation mission routinely conduct what are known as "weeding" exercises, which involves removing some books from the shelves and renewing their collections. It can be hundreds of books every time! RecycLivre then intervenes to collect the discarded books. The company supplies the boxes and packs the books.

They are then sent to RecycLivre workshops where they are sorted thanks to an algorithm that indicates whether they have a more than 90% chance of being sold. The most damaged will be recycled to make pulp. The others are listed for sale in the online store from €3.99.


Jobs and solidarity

Ten per cent of the net income generated by the sale of these second-hand books is donated to associations and programs to combat illiteracy, promote universal access to culture and protect resources. In its huge warehouse in Essonne in France, the company also employs people with disabilities or with difficulties getting into the labor market – they are responsible for preparing and shipping orders.

By putting the old books back into circulation, RecycLivre is fully committed to circular economy principles. Its ecological commitment is also reflected in actions aimed at minimizing its impact on the environment, such as collecting books using a small electric vehicle, and offsetting its CO2 emissions.

In 2017, RecycLivre donated €340,000 to associations (over €960,000 since its creation), collected 3 million books and sold 840,000 (255 million liters of water saved and 6,384 trees saved), and recycled 1,080 metric tons of paper.