How To Recycle Printers {Explained!}

By Rebekah Pierce

If you’re like most people, you have at least one printer taking up space in your home – and if you’re like most people, you don’t know what to do with that old printer when it’s time to upgrade. Here’s a guide on how to recycle printers properly and keeping them out of landfills.

What Do I Do With An Old Printer?

If you’re buying a new printer, you need to find a way to get rid of the old one. There are a few options for doing this – perhaps more than you might think! 

Recycle A Printer

The most effective and eco-friendly thing to do when you’re done with your old printer is to recycle it. Sometimes, it is as simple as stopping at a local big box store (such as Staples) to see if they accept old printers.

Most do, and some even offer pickup services to help you get rid of your old gear! If there aren’t any stores that accept printers near you, don’t despair.

An e-waste recycling center is one good option. These centers are found in most major cities and will help you safely get rid of your old electronics.

Finally, you can also check with the printer manufacturer. Some offer recycling services or even buyback or upgrade programs so you can get some money for your old printer.

Donate The Printer 

Donating the printer is another good option – and it allows you to give back to the community! If you do this, you can keep it out of the landfill and help people in need.

Check with local thrift stores or charities, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you donate your printer here, you can get a receipt that you can use to write the donation off as a charitable donation on your taxes. However, it’s wise to call ahead first to ensure they accept printers, since they’re large items that can sometimes be hard to sell.

You can also check with local schools and community organizations. They can often get plenty of use out of these old machines. 

Consider Selling It

If your printer is still worth something, you may want to consider selling it. You can sell it at a yard sale but for most people, the most effective way to sell a printer is to do so online. Consider listing your old printer on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, ro another online marketplace.

Some features are definitely more valuable than others when it comes to selling old printers – things like faxing, scanning, or even printing wirelessly – so know that you might be able to get a bit more money for these features.

Avoid The Trash

There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t just throw your printer in the trash. For one, in many places, it’s illegal. Check the regulations in your area so that you don’t get charged high penalties and fines.

Tips For Recycling An Old Printer

If recycling is the way you’d like to get rid of your old printer, kudos to you! Here are a few tips to help you do it. 

Recycling With A Retailer

As mentioned earlier, retailers like Best Buy will often put out in-store recycling bins. These are so you can drop off your printer in the receptacle without dealing directly with anyone. 

Other stores that have services like this include places like Staples, Office Depot, and Target.

E-Waste Collection Center Recycling

If you choose to go to an e-waste collection center, you’ll just need to find the drop-off locations and hours. You can check on your county or city website (or even with your city hall) to find out what these hours are. 

These centers are incredibly convenient because you’ll also be able to drop off things like old printers and toner cartridges, too. 

Check For Sponsored Events

Keep an eye out for sponsored events that might be happening locally. Some counties and cities will hold weekend or daylong events that are specifically meant to collect electronic waste from business owners and individuals. All you have to do is drop off the gear and you’re good to go!

Check your local paper or again, your city or county website for information on when these events are happening. 

Use An Electronics Outreach Program

You can even donate old printers to organizations that specialize in electronics outreach to assist those in need. The World Computer Exchange is one such organization. It provides computers and other related technology to people in developing countries.

You can learn more about what kinds of equipment is needed for donations here.

Check With The Manufacturer

Again, it’s a good idea to double-check with the manufacturer. Some give buyback incentives while others will simply allow you to ship the old printer in, free of charge, and they’ll repurpose or recycle the printer for you.

Dell also has a generous giveback program that makes it easy for you to get rid of your old printer. It’s called the Dell Reconnect program. Through a partnership with Goodwill, it allows you to drop your printer off at any Goodwill location – they’ll take care of the rest! 

Just remember that most manufacturer will only accept their own products – they won’t take printers or other electronics from other brands.

Use A Nonprofit

Even if your printer doesn’t work anymore, you can donate it to a nonprofit charity or organization that will buy your electronics for cash and let you get gift cards in return. 

How Do You Prepare a Printer for Recycling?

Before you get rid of your printer, whether you’re donating it, selling it, or recycling it, there are a few things you’ll want to do.

First, remember that wireless printers can store all kidneys of data, like email addresses and sensitive network information. Be sure to restore the printer back to its original factory settings before you get rid of it – otherwise, the information could fall into the wrong hands. You’ll also want to check that any memory cards or other removable storage devices, like flash drives, have been removed

Make sure there aren’t any papers or documents left in the machine. Then, you should be good to go! 

Here’s a video that will walk you through all of the steps you need to take before recycling your printer:

So, if you have an old printer that’s just taking up space, don’t throw it away! Try one of these methods to recycle your printer instead. And remember, when it comes time to buy a new printer, always consider how eco-friendly the model is before making your purchase.

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