Sunday, Apr 21st

What Happens to the Books Collected at the Recycling Center?

BookBinsYou can recycle so much more than paper at Scarsdale’s Recycling Center on Secor Road. A reader noticed the book bins and asked us to find out what happens to books that are placed in those bins. Are they all destroyed?

The answer is no! In fact the books that are collected end up in many good places. We spoke to Gary Parenteau, the owner of Discover Books who manages the books that are collected in Scarsdale and here is what he shared:

Tell us about yourself and Discover Books - what is your background and why/how did you start this operation?

My name is Gary Parenteau and I am a Rhode Island native. After college, I spent the majority of my career in corporate sales specifically dealing in the Science and Medical industries. This led me to travel all across the US, Germany and Switzerland. While on one such trip, it hit me that long distance travel was not for me anymore. After 12 years of nonstop travel I wanted to do something that I truly enjoyed. That is when I found Discover Books. In 2018 I took over our New England operations of just 9,000 square ft and 7 employees. Since then, we have grown to over 30,000 square feet in Rhode Island and a second facility with 10,000 square feet in East Hartford, CT. We now have over 40 employees and a fleet of trucks that take care of our donation bins and customers.

Where do you collect books?

We collect books all over New England, New York and part of New Jersey. Books are either donated into one of our 600 or so donation bins or through our many library partners.

For the ones that can be distributed, where do you donate them? We love to donate books. We have donated to organizations such as Books through Bars, Books are Wings, numerous schools, College English Clubs, book clubs, and many more.

Books2The Rohode Island College English club sold Discover Books to raise funds for the club.

For the ones that are recycled, please describe the process:

When a book is deemed to be recyclable they are sent off to be pulped. The process uses a large machine called a Hogger to pull the spines off the books. The loose paper is then loaded into a water and chemical stream. This treats the paper and allows it to be used to make paper towels, toilet paper, house insulation, and more.

How many books do you handle each year?

We take in so many books that a physical count is almost impossible. We on the other hand, measure in pounds. It is safe to say we process/rescue over 12 million pounds of books a year just in New England.

Please share a story about the books finding new readers?

We believe children deserve to read. Books help foster creativity and open up their imaginations. Nothing makes us more happy then when we are able to give children books. We distribute thousands of free books in low income areas. Sometimes, the books we give is the only book that they have ever owned. These tend to be our favorite stories.

Please note we do sell books to keep our services free. They can be found on

Scarsdale residents can bring their books to the Recycling Center at 110 Secor Road during regular Recycling Center hours, which are Monday through Saturday, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Books1Books are Wings distributes books collected by Discover to local area children.


Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace