Read, reuse and recycle with the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City

This is one of a series of posts for readers interested in the MARC Solid Waste Management District’s grant program.

Spines removed from books.

The Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) received a grant from the MARC Solid Waste Management District to provide recycling services for discarded books. Although they are made mostly of paper, books can be difficult to recycle because of the adhesives used in their bindings. With District grant funds, RIKC was able to purchase a high speed book debinder. The debinder removes the glued spine from both hard and soft cover books, allowing workers to remove the recyclable pages, which are baled and sold to paper brokers.

RIKC collects unwanted books from school districts, colleges, universities and libraries. Since the start of the program, the institute has diverted more than 300 tons of books from landfill disposal. Not all collected books are recycled, however. Popular titles, rare and antique books are separated and resold online or at the RIKC Bookstore. Another benefit to the program is that participants in the sheltered workshop program develop skills in sorting various types of books and learn to use the book debinding and paper baling equipment. To learn more about the book project, please visit RIKC’s website or stop by in person at 3010 Main St. to browse the books offered for resale.

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