Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is trying to do its part in keeping our earth clean and green.

The relief organization has been processing old, outdated books obtained from thrift shops and libraries at its Material Resources Centre in Plum Coulee.

The facility serves primarily as a collection point for receiving, packing and shipping material resources such as hygiene kits, blankets and school kits donated by people responding to aid requests from MCC partners.

However, for several years now, some of the space at the MRC has been used by volunteers to process old books.

"We have an old cutter here which is used to cut off the bindings and we collect the pages which are placed into watermelon cardboard crates which is sent over to North Star Fibre in Morden where it's shredded, treated, and eventually is made into blow insulation for homes," said Gord Letkeman, MRC manager.

Letkeman says they get about 50 dollars a tonne, which isn't a lot of money, but it does keep that material out of the landfill, all the money goes back to MCC and ultimately helps keep our planet cleaner.

"We're always talking about going green and this helps out our environment by keeping this material out of the landfills," said Letkeman.

The recycling process started out on a small scale several years ago, basically collecting and processing old encyclopedia sets.

"Then a couple of years later I had some Winnipeg libraries call, inquiring if we would recycle some of their books. I laughed a little because we were just a small operation, but we tried it and I think we're now on our sixth or seventh semi-truck load of books already."

Between April 2016 and March 2017, volunteers processed a total of 66 tonnes of paper. And, while there is probably an opportunity to expand the operation, Letkeman it's not something he's considering right now.

"I have to be able to maintain space for the blankets and school kits and hygiene kits that are made here so that I can ship that out to different countries in need. So, I have to try and balance it out and keep room for the main stuff that MCC is really in to. The paper recycling is mostly a side project that our volunteers can help with."