What to do with mouldy books?

| 28/08/2018

I have a number (lots!) of books which are showing early signs of mould. Thus, I don’t think it’s fair to bring them to the Humane Society book loft, NCVO, etc as they could infect others. They will probably fill my trunk, so throwing out one/week into the garbage isn’t a viable solution. Is there a place I can drop them for recycling?

Advance ChevroletAuntie’s answer: I contacted the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) which is responsible for recycling efforts in Cayman. At the moment, the DEH is not able to “facilitate the recycling of books” a department official explained.

But depending on the extent of the mould, the books may be salvageable. “If mould is limited to the cover and/or spine then it can be removed by carefully wiping the affected area(s) using a cloth dampened with a solution of water and mild detergent,” the official said. “Thoroughly dry books by placing them in the sun afterwards. If mould is spread throughout the pages, it is best to dispose of these books.”

The official also offered some tips on preventing the occurrence of mould. Overall, areas should be kept as clean and dry as possible, but if you find patches of mould, here is what is recommended:

  • Wash and disinfect affected areas with a solution of water and mild detergent.
  • Ensure that the surface is completely dried after cleaning.
  • Discard wet materials that cannot be thoroughly dried.
  • Wear gloves, eye protection and a dust mask to protect against breathing airborne spores when trying to get rid of mould.

If your books are beyond saving from mould, however, the only available option is to bring your load to the DEH landfill. For readers on the Sister Islands, you can use the landfill on either Little Cayman or Cayman Brac.

For more information on mould you can call DEH at 949-6696 or email Antoinette Johnson

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Category: Ask Auntie, Misc Questions

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Check the area in which the books were stored, for spread of the mould.