How to Recycle Hymnals

When considering what to do with your congregation’s used copies of Hymns of the Saints and other old hymnals, keep these possibilities in mind:


Use the printed pages from the old hymnals for various crafts (such as candle decorating, gift bags, box covering). Save your favorite hymn as a plaque or scroll. Engage youth to make origami peace cranes, decoupage frames, and artwork. Have them roll and string paper beads and make Christmas decorations. Send your ideas and photos to Lu Mountenay.


Visit the US Environmental Protection Agency for basic information on recycling.

Where to begin

Find a Recycler

Search for recycling options in the United States by material and zip code. Browse the site for other types of recycling.

Contact Goodwill or other thrift stores in your area to see if they will recycle your hymnals. In the state of Ohio, Goodwill stores will take books. This practice is expanding to other Goodwill stores.

Contact your city or county government offices to find best options.

Locate book and paper recyclers in your area. Donation Town is a directory of US recyclers.

Anyone who disposes of large quantities of paper or books might know of local recycling opportunities. Contact paper mills, paper companies, cellulose insulation companies, libraries, or publishing companies. If your community has curbside recycling, check their FAQ sheets to see if they accept books.

Contact local recyclers before taking hymnals to them. Ask if they will take hymnals with certain types of binding. You need to know the construction of each hymnal. This affects recycling.

Hymns of the Saints is perfect bound (glue).
Most of the small, supplement hymnals—like By Request—are saddle-stitched (stapled in the middle, no glue).
Sing for Peace is metal spiral bound.
The musician’s editions for Hymns of the Saints and Sing a New Song have Mylar reinforced pages.

Ask if There a Minimum Quantity or Weight

Having only a small number of hymnals to recycle can cause problems for some recycling companies. We recommend mission centers work together to help congregations locate brokering opportunities for recycling.

Ask if There is a Fee

There may be cost involved with recyclers, so ask important questions and understand the expectations.

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