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There’s a special level of frustration in trying to get your printer, copier, fax machine, or other necessary office equipment to function correctly. If your old printer has finally kicked it, you may be tempted to drag it out to an open field a la Office Space and take your revenge for its years of faulty error messages. Getting rid of old printers shouldn’t be a hassle, so to make parting with your printer as stress-free as possible, here’s RecycleScene’s guide to recycling printers.
It’s easy to get a little lost trying to find what to do with an old printer. If you live in a bigger city, you may have your choice of local options. If the printer still works, you could always take it to a thrift store- that’s an easy solution. Donate to your local schools or other organization- you never know how handy it might be for them. No matter where you live, here are two manufacturer’s recycling programs you can take advantage of, and also a third clear-cut option for recycling old printers.
1. HP’s Buy-Back Recycling Program:
The Hewlett-Packard (HP) Consumer Buyback and Planet Partners Recycling Program accepts printers (both ink and laser) and other products of any brand manufacturer. That’s right, you can choose from a drop down menu of other brands, from Apple to Xerox, to see if you can ship them your equipment.
- Go to their website, identify your printer from an easy drop-down menu and receive a quote.
- Package and ship your product.
- Receive your Buyback cash back check or recycling confirmation.
If your product is made by HP, Compaq or Palm, there is no cost. HP will also recycle products from other manufacturers for a modest charge, depending upon the type of hardware. For example, filling out their form for a quick test gave a quote of only about $10 to recycle an old Lexmark printer. You just create a trade in account and you will be all set. Their site clearly says that HP will arrange for your equipment to be picked up at your office or home. Check out their FAQs for more information.
Not only will HP accept printers, other notable products that they will take include monitors, scanners, digital cameras and digital picture frames.
HP has an existing partnership with the National Cristina Foundation, which provides an integrated way for customers to donate printers, ink cartridges and other equipment to schools charities and public agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
It’s great that HP provides this service. Note that Kodak also has a trade-in program for your old printer where you can get cash. For more information about manufacturers and recycling takeback programs, read this post on Who Should Pay to Recycle.
2. Staples and Dell:
Staples will recycle any Dell product for free. For other printer types, there is a fee of $10 per piece for large equipment, which covers handling, transport, product disassembly and recycling. Smaller computer peripherals, such as keyboards, mice, speakers and modems, can be recycled for FREE. Learn more.
Staples ran a promotion (which is now over) that gave you a $50 rebate to recycle your printer and also buy a new, pricier one. Not a bad deal if your old printer is not fixable and you truly need a new one (which is why you want to recycle it, right?) So do some searching around to see if you can find a similar deal if you’re looking to recycle and replace your printer. Also, be sure to brush up on your consumer smarts by watching The Story of Electronics.
Another important note about Staples recycling program is that they partner with Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) to do the actual recycling of the electronics they accept. This is great news because ERI handles all of the recycling domestically, and their facilities are certified as e-Stewards by the Basel Action Network. This means they passed rigorous audits to demonstrate the highest standards of environmental responsibility and employee safety. Read up on the problem of exporting electronics for recycling in our Computer Disposal and Recycling series.
No matter where you take your printer for recycling, it’s important that the recycler that eventually receives your printer is pursuing or has earned certification to either the EPA Responsible Recycling standard or the E-Stewards Recyclers Program standard. Both of these standards seek to ensure that facilities responsibly handle and recycle e-waste.
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition provides a report card of takeback and recycling programs offered by computer, TV, printer and game console companies.
Super disappointing! Apart from HP, all the printer companies scored a big fat F for lack of transparency on most aspects of their takeback programs, including standards for responsible recycling. Refer back to the Electronics Takeback Coalition site for more details and how they grade.
3. Recycle Your Printer and Get Good Karma!
The World Computer Exchange (WCE) is another cool option to mail in your working printer. First check and see if there is a chapter near you- they are in many states and do great things to provide printers, etc. to needy countries. If you’re lucky enough to live close by, you can arrange a time to drop-off your equipment.
If there is no chapter nearby, you do have the option of mailing your equipment.
World Computer Exchange
936 Nantasket Ave
Hull, Massachusetts 02045
Donations of used printers, computers and peripherals are an integral part of WCE’s ability to help kids in need. Make a difference by becoming one of the many companies, universities, libraries, or individuals that helps make WCE’s work possible each year. Be sure to check out their items wanted list on their donations page.
Whoo! There’s a lot of information about recycling printers to sift through out there, so hopefully this helps narrow down your printer recycling needs. Thank you for taking the effort to learn how to recycle printers responsibly!