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Used book collection points spring up throughout county

Photo Illustration: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith  The Better World Books bin located in the handicap parking lot behind the Newton County Administration Building is available for residents to drop off their used books.

Photo Illustration: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith The Better World Books bin located in the handicap parking lot behind the Newton County Administration Building is available for residents to drop off their used books.

COVINGTON - Green bins have popped up throughout town, giving residents a chance to donate used books to a good cause.

The bins are in place for Newton residents to drop off used books to be collected by Better World Books, a company that collects the books to recycle, sell or donate. Bins are located at all county recycling centers and behind the Newton County Administration Building, in the handicap parking lot.

The Board of Commissioners approved the agreement with Better World Books in December, at the urging of James Peters, executive director of Newton County Landfill, and the bins were installed about a week ago.

Fifteen percent of proceeds from books sold by the company will go back to the county, with 10 percent benefitting the solid waste fund and 5 percent benefitting a local literacy-focused non-profit. Chairman Kathy Morgan has recommended that the Newton County Library System be the benefactor.

Books that cannot be sold will be recycled or donated to literacy charities throughout the nation. There is no cost to the county.

A monitoring system in the drop boxes alerts Better World Books when the bins are full and ready for pick up, said Steve Ward, business development manager for the company.

"I think what a lot of people don't understand is that every year, 60 to 65 million pounds of books wind up in Georgia's landfills," Ward said. "It's because people don't have any reasonable alternatives for disposing of books. A lot of recycling centers don't want them because they're difficult to recycle."

Better World Books will make sure that books that cannot be sold online are recycled or donated to various literacy charities nationwide, Ward said. To date, nearly 6 million books have been donated. For every book sold online, Better World Books will also donate a book to a non-profit.

Better World Books has operations in all 50 states and Canada, as well as a processing plant in the United Kingdom. About 650,000 books are processed each week. The company partners with colleges, universities and libraries around the country to collect old books they no longer wish to stock.

To date, Better World Books has helped non-profits raise almost $11 million and helped generate $7 million for local libraries.

"Money is just a piece of this," he said. It's more about making sure we're doing the right things for these books and they are not ending up in a landfill, and about the donation piece."

For more information, visit www.betterworldbooks.com.