How to Dispose of a Printer

Printers 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? 

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.

Do you know how to dispose of a printer properly and responsibly? 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. 

Printer Preparation: 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 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. 

How to Dispose of a Printer With Electronics Retailers

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

Many of such retailers feature recycling programs that will harvest out-of-use devices for valuable base components for future use. Recycling old devices when available helps to reduce carbon footprint by retaining materials in the manufacturing cycle and keeping them out of landfills and other potentially hazardous sites. 

Here’s a breakdown of some common electronics retailers and the range of recycling programs offered for printer disposal. 

  • Best Buy – Will take your electronic devices for free and strip them down for their recyclable parts. Importantly, it doesn’t matter whether your printer was originally purchased from one of their stores. 
  • Office Max – Similar to Best Buy, Office Max also provides its customers with a pretty convenient electronics 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 electronics recycling program to its customers. 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. 

The price of the shipping box varies depending on its size – but most modern printers will probably require you to go for the largest box. Once your device has been packed up and sealed, return it to Office Depot and they will have it shipped to one of their company recycling facilities.

Many electronics retailers offer recycling programs in some form, but often have different standards and requirements depending on the printer model. Be sure to research the retailer’s e-waste guidelines before you set your plan into motion. 

How to Dispose of a Printer: Manufacturer Buyback Programs

Often, printer manufacturers will offer buyback or recycling programs for their products. Depending on the age and condition of the printer, a manufacturer may also offer credit or a cash sum to return its products for refurbishment or recycling. 

Buyback programs come with some neat incentives but generally require more steps than a standard drop off station. Companies like Hewlett-Packard require parameters like factory reset and ink cartridge removal to be met before accepting an old device. Make sure to research your particular model(s) and ensure that you are eligible to return them for credit. 

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. 

How to Dispose of a Printer

Donate Printers To Organizations In Need

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. Consider donating your old printers to nonprofit organizations like charities or bookstores that are constantly in need. 

Electronics donations can also provide extra benefits – according to the IRS, any electronics 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. 

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. 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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