How to Dispose of Your Printer

How do you dispose of your printer properly? If printers aren’t disposed properly, the components of the printer that contain dangerous materials are dumped into landfills or worse, burned. This causes the toxic materials to seep into the soil, emitted into the atmosphere, or enter the air as ash. The toxins are found in the toner and inked used by printers, the printer’s circuit boards, and other parts of the printer. They contain lead, which causes various health issues and mercury, which is poisonous. There is so much mercury in printers that they are the largest source of mercury sitting in landfills.

How to Dispose of Printers



Before you get ready to dispose of your printer, remove any SD cards, portable memory or any other extensions that may be attached to the printer. Make sure that the print cartridges are removed, disconnect the USB or any other cables which might be connected, and unplug the power cord. The print cartridges need to be disposed of separately – you can return them to a recycler, Target chain stores, or an office supply store. You can reuse the USB cable, power cord or the other cables, or if the printer is still working, bring the power cables with your printer when you drop it off so that it can be reused if possible.

After getting your printer ready take it to a center that specializes in electronic waste. They will process the printers by taking them apart and cleaning all of the separate parts of ink or residue that may have accumulated. Metals, plastic and other materials are all put into separate piles so that each material can be recycled, and any material that can’t be will be disposed of in a safe way. Although it depends on the recycling center, you might get paid for the materials in the printer you bring in.

If you want to save a trip to the recycling plant, here’s how to dispose of your printer without going to the factory. You can see if your printer manufacturer offers a recycling or buyback program. You will most likely have to visit the manufacturer’s website to print out a shipping label, and some manufacturers will take printers from other brands as well. The shipping is usually free, although you will have package the printer yourself. When the company receives your printer, you will be paid based on the condition the printer is in and the printer’s model.

How to Dispose of Printer Cartridges

You’ll want to know how to dispose of printer cartridges as well to keep them and their ink out of our landfills. Retail stores like target often offer bins that you can place the cartridges in for recycling and there are manufacturers who will allow you to mail your cartridges to them as well.

If your printer is still working, see if you can donate it rather than throwing it away. Some organizations and groups will take donated computer equipment and refurbish it. Afterward they will give the equipment to non profits or lower income families with children in school. Other groups run thrift stores and will sell the printer as a way to get funds for the community. This is how to dispose of your printer and your printer cartridges.


Share this story

Post a comment