How to Dispose of a Printer

Printers, copiers, and fax machines are among the most common electronics in any work environment, whether in a home office or corporate building. Wear and tear from frequent use combined with a constant stream of new products has led us to an increasingly common problem – how to dispose of a printer? 

Just like any other type of waste, business owners need to understand how to properly dispose of a printer. Even if you use a printer just for home use, you will want to make sure that it is properly disposed of. Otherwise, you are causing hazardous material to build up in landfills.  

Disposal of a printer is like any other electronic that you need to get rid of – you cannot just throw it away. The ink in printer cartridges has toxic substances, and you will find that many states have made laws regarding the disposal of e-waste.

There are hefty fines to pay if you do not partake in responsible disposal of electronics. In 2014 AT&T was fined $52 million for improper disposal of e-waste, and illegally sending hazardous materials to landfills. Recycling your used electronics is a much better way, but it is not your only option.

At AllGreen Recycling we recognize the need to educate about proper printer removal and highlight the resources that exist all around us to facilitate a convenient disposal process.

This article will break down the few quick steps everybody should take to decide the best method of disposal, whether via recycling, donation, manufacturer buyback, or other means. 

Dangers of Improper E-Waste Disposal

Responsible printer disposal is important – not only to free up office space and follow company guidelines but also for our collective health. 

Inappropriate electronic waste disposal of any kind is a hazard to environmental stability. Improperly handled old printers can end up in landfills, and toxic components may leak into local water supplies and ecosystems.

What to Do Before Disposing of an Old Printer

When your printers or fax machines have been rendered obsolete for any reason, you may not be experienced in the proper guidelines for disposal. Handling potential electronic waste is a crucial process, and companies may require internal standards to be met alongside state and federal guidelines for e-waste removal

Printers have removable components like print cartridges that may be required to be removed and/or recycled depending on the method of disposal. 

Preparing a printer for disposal streamlines the process for all parties involved. Components like ink cartridges must be removed and recycled if possible beforehand. Cartridges left behind may complicate the e-waste recycling process or could be a hassle to replace for a donation recipient. 

Almost all modern printers contain highly customizable software, allowing the user to set preferences for many printing/copying functions. Restore your old printers to factory default settings, especially before donation. Always remember to include critical accessories like print trays and power cables with the device. 

Recycling Options

If you are asking yourself, “How do I dispose of a printer?” The 3 main options that you have been selling, recycling, or donating the printer. In this section, we will discuss the various recycling options that you have. If you are looking for a quick way to dispose of your printer, recycling tends to be the best method of disposal. People often answer the question of how to dispose of a printer with recycling. However, those people are not fully aware of how or where your printer can be recycled. 

Recycle Your Old Printer with a Retail Store

Some of the most convenient options for printer disposal are as close as your nearest electronics store. Many big-name retailers feature electronic recycling programs that take the hassle out of the process for consumers and businesses alike. 

Retail recycling programs will harvest out-of-use devices for valuable components for future use. Here’s a breakdown of some common electronic retailers and the range of recycling programs offered for printer disposal. 

  • Best Buy – They will take your electronic devices for free and strip them down for their recyclable parts. It does not matter whether your printer was originally purchased from them or not.
  • Office Max – Similar to Best Buy, Office Max also provides its customers with a pretty convenient electronic recycling program. They will also take your out-of-use printers free of charge, regardless of where they were purchased. 
  • Office Depot – Office Depot provides a unique recycling program. Unlike Best Buy and Office Max, Office Depot’s program is not free. Its Tech Recycling Service requires customers to buy a shipping box from the closest Office Depot store. 

Other retailers that recycle electronics include Target and Staples. There may be more options available to you. It never hurts to ask your local electronic store if they offer a recycling program. Be sure to research the retailer’s e-waste guidelines before you set your plan into motion. 

Local Recycling Centers for Quick Printer Disposal

If your local recycling center accepts electronic waste, your printer will most likely be an acceptable item for disposal. Many local recycling centers have dedicated electronic waste receptacles and may even offer a cash sum in exchange for materials. 

If you’re not sure whether your local recycling center takes e-waste, you can verify via their website or call them on the phone. If a recycling center doesn’t accept your device(s), they will likely be able to direct you to one that does.

Dedicated e-waste recycling vendors will be able to assess your needs based on the type and amount of electronics that you need to dispose of. Our representatives at AllGreen Recycling can help to take stock of your equipment and develop an actionable recycling plan. 

Recycling Print Cartridges

Print cartridges are typically recycled separately from printers themselves to keep them and any ink they contain out of landfills. Many retailers that sell print cartridges offer drop boxes where used cartridges can be placed for recycling, and several printer manufacturers offer mail-in recycling services as well. Recycling print cartridges ensures that any ink remaining in them is drained safely and that the cartridges themselves are broken down and cleaned before any components are recycled or disposed of.

How To Dispose Of A Printer

Selling Your Printer

How to dispose of a printer is a worry of the past. There are so many options when it comes to selling your printer. Just think about it, selling a printer that is still in good working condition can help you offset the cost of a new printer. In this section, we will discuss your options when it comes to selling a used printer.

Manufacturer Buyback Programs

Many manufacturers such as Epson, Canon, HP, Sony, and Samsung offer e-waste recycling and take-back programs. These types of programs will eliminate the need to locate and visit a recycling facility. 

To participate in a manufacturing buyback program, you will need to visit the manufactures website to get a quote on your printer. Keep in mind that most manufactures will recycle other printers as well. 

You will be responsible for packing up the printer and shipping it back, but the program typically supplies you with a free shipping label. Once the printer reaches the manufactures facility, they will inspect the printer and offer a payout based on the condition and decide if the printer still has commercial value. 

There are some cases where you may be able to drop the printer off at a retail partner of the manufacturer, which will eliminate the need to ship the printer.

Alternative Methods of Selling a Printer

Working with a manufacture buy-back program is not the only way to sell your old printer. Here are some alternative methods when wanting to turn your printer into cash.

  • Printer Jack – Visit their website to get a quote for your printer. They will supply you with a pre-paid shipping label. Once they receive the printer and check it over, you will be paid by check or PayPal.
  • – This program is similar to Printer Jack. However, they specialize in refurbishing laser and dot matrix printers.
  • Marketplaces – There are many avenues when it comes to selling electronic devices online. You can use eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, or Bonanza. Just take the time to review their guidelines and opt for the place where you will get the most bang for your buck.
  • Social Media – Facebook Marketplace or groups is one of the best options when wanting to sell your printer locally. Everyone seems to be a part of social media, so this will bring you loads of opportunity. Plus, there are no listing or selling fees when you opt for this selling alternative.

If your printer is not working, you still have some options. You may be able to sell it to someone who refurbishes electronics. There are loads of people who sell parts on eBay for this very reason. It is all about doing the research and seeing if your printer has any value. If it is an older model then it may not be worth it. You may want to opt for recycling.

While selling your printer may take a little bit of your time, it is a great way to offset the cost of a new printer. Printers are expensive, and most will have you investing hundreds of dollars. This can be a big deal for small businesses.

When pricing out your printer make sure that you look at similar models and what they are currently selling for on the platform that you are using. This will help you get the proper value for your printer and give you the best chances of selling it to a potential buyer.  

Donate Used Printer

Is any of your out-of-use printing equipment still functional? Perhaps the company you belong to is revamping its office supplies and you’re left with perfectly capable older units as a result. Printers can be donated to schools, recreation centers, community organizations, thrift shops, as well as charities and nonprofits.

Electronic donations can also provide extra benefits – according to the IRS, any electronic donation to a nonprofit entity is entirely tax-deductible. Donating to an organization in need is a noble deed, and the good press that goes with it can be a strong positive for a company’s public relations. 

Recycling a printer is a great option, but if you can repurpose a printer that is in working condition you can help out another organization that is in need. If you cannot find any local organizations to give to, there are specialized electronic outreach programs. The Dell Reconnect Program is in partnership with Goodwill. This allows you to drop your printer off at a Goodwill location and the rest will be taken care of.

Don’t have the misconception that your printer is worthless because it is not functioning properly. There are many charities and organizations that will take nonworking electronics to have them refurbished. While you’re at it, take a look at other old equipment that you have laying around. Most of these organizations will also accept computers, monitors, and other old electronic devices.

Learning How to Dispose of a Printer Is a Win-Win for Everybody

Outdated and out-of-use electronic devices that aren’t handled properly can range from an inconvenience to a sizable liability. Now that you understand how to dispose of a printer you can put a plan of action in place. Whether you are an individual or a member of an organization, you should maintain a simple plan for handling old printers – not only to stay ahead of the curve but to mitigate any potential legal/financial issues from improper e-waste handling

Some options for printer disposal may not be convenient for your specific needs – perhaps your nearest recycling center is just too far away, or your old devices don’t fit the donation requirements for your local nonprofit. 

Whichever method you choose, our professionals at All Green Recycling can help to point you in the right direction to get your old printers and fax machines out of your hair and give them a renewed purpose. 

Want to learn how to properly dispose of batteries or other electronics? Check out our blog! 

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