How to dispose of printers

Mike Davies / Fri, 15 Jul 2022 15:00 GMT
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Whether used for business or just as a personal home printer; at some point the printer will either come to the end of its life or you will want to upgrade to a better version. Knowing this, you will want to ensure that what you do with your current printer is the most environmentally friendly. Many people believe that you can just throw a printer away in the normal rubbish. However, this is not only irresponsible but you can also face fines for improper handling of e-waste. The most notable example of this was in the US where AT&T was fined $52million for sending electronic goods straight to landfill.

Due to the electrical components and ink found within a printer; they can have a seriously harmful effect on the environment when placed in landfill.

Before you look to dispose of your old printer consider its condition. You should avoid discarding a good working printer. Or if you have one that is broken, try to repair it first. This avoids unnecessary waste.

You will also need to consider the ink cartridges when disposing of your printer. You can find out how to dispose of ink cartridges here.

Can I recycle a printer?

There are multiple options to choose from when looking to recycle a printer.

Send to manufacturer

Contact the manufacturer or retailer you purchased your printer from. They may have a recycle scheme in place for old printers. This could either be with them, or often they partner with other companies to handle the recycling process. The printer will then be broken down and the materials recycled or the parts may be used for new machines.

Exchange for newer model

In some cases a manufacturer or retailer, when you purchase a new printer, may offer a recycle scheme for your old one. Companies often do this as an incentive for you to purchase through them, offering a free recycling service. They may even offer a slight discount on your new printer. It's always worth looking around to see which manufacturers or retailers offer this.

Recycling centre

Check with your local recycling centre to see if they are equipped to take printers. Alternatively find an E-waste recycling facility. You may have one nearby you, or some allow to you send items to them.

can i recycle a printer
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Donate your printer

If the printer is in full working order and you are just looking for an upgrade; you should look at donating your current printer to someone that may have use for it. Here are some different ways for you to donate a printer:

  • Donate the printer to a charity - There are many charities out there that will be happy to accept your old printer. This could either be to sell on or rehome it. Printers are expensive and not always affordable to some. So rehoming it to someone less fortunate could be very helpful.
  • Electronics programs - Electronics programs will take your donated electronics and use them to print digital resources for less privileged people in less privileged countries. Places like WCE accept donations. You could also search online for any local programs near you.
  • Someone you know - Why not offer it to friends, family or neighbours. See if anyone you may have a use for your old printer.
donate your printer

Sell your printer

If you are looking for some extra money to put towards your new printer, you could look to sell your old one. It may not even have to be in working condition for someone to want to take it off your hands. High quality expensive printers are in great demand. If yours no longer works, you may be able to sell it to someone that can fix it.

There are multiple platforms that you can use to sell such as:

  • eBay
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • Gumtree

This will lengthen the life of the product keeping it out of the landfill for as long as possible. Plus, you'll get some extra money for your new printer.

Ultimately find a way to sustainably recycle your old printer using any of the above methods. This will eliminate unnecessary wastage and be beneficial to the planet.

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