How to Recycle Office, Fax and Copy Machines

4 Handy Ways to Recycle Office Equipment

Copier Tech

Creative Commons License photo credit: Yo Spiff

Recycling bulky office equipment can be a challenge! RecycleScene is here to help you with quick and easy options for stuff like photo copiers and fax machines. Let’s start with the easiest first.
Go to the manufacturer’s website to see if they have a recycling tab or information. Toshiba, for example, announced the expansion of its e-waste takeback program to include copiers and “imaging consumables,” including toner cartridges. You might be in luck if the company you purchased your machine from will either repair it or haul the machine away for you.

List your item on Craigslist or the Freecycle Network if your equipment is still working. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get a response. Listing is free and relatively painless, although sometimes people will express interest and then flake out. It’s worth it to get stuff off your hands, for anything from couches to office equipment and machines.

Contact your local thrift store such as a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Salvation Army’s number to arrange a free pickup is 1800-SA-TRUCK. They’ll come directly to your location and haul the machine away for you. Keep in mind that items they accept are up to the discretion of the driver once they see what shape your stuff is in. Give it a try!

TIP: Remember data security. Clear out, remove and delete any personal information and passwords, etc before giving any electronic equipment away.

Give a call to your local school, place of worship, non-profit or other organization. A working copy machine could come in really handy for a local place near you that can use it. Ask around to see if they can get some use out of it. It should be easy to find someone with a truck to transport the machine if you don’t have one, and you could always try one of those rent-a-vehicle for a short period of time services, such as Zipcar.

If Office Equipment is Broken

In addition to computers, televisions and monitors, other office equipment and electronics should not be thrown in the garbage. There’s some toxic stuff in there such as lead in CRTs, PCBs, mercury and heavy metals such as cadmium. Also, there are state and federal laws enforcing proper disposal of such equipment. A good first step is to make sure the recycler near you does not use prison labor or export waste, but instead processes equipment in the U.S.

Your recycler should have standards! Remember to read this list of questions to Ask a Recycler.

Founded in 1997, the Basel Action Network (BAN) is named after the Basel Convention, the United Nations treaty that restricts trade in hazardous wastes. Improper e-waste disposal is a big problem that many believe should not be happening. Certified e-Stewards demonstrate their intention to not never dump of toxic e-waste on developing nations.

e-Stewards say it best: “Without appropriate national and international legislation or enforcement in place in many regions, it is unfortunately left up to individual citizens, corporations, universities, cities – all of us – to figure out how to prevent the toxic materials in electronics from continuing to cause long term harm to human health and the environment, particularly in countries with developing economies.”

Do the right thing: Find e-Stewards Recyclers to easily identify recyclers that adhere to the highest standard of environmental responsibility and worker protection.

Check out other ideas on RecycleScene when you have something you want to donate.


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