How to Dispose of a Printer

Maybe you’re moving and can’t take it with you, or maybe it’s not working very well. Whatever the case, there are multiple ways to rid yourself of this electronic, just choose your preference!

There are typically three ways to dispose of an old printer. It can either be recycled, sold, or a place can be found to donate it. However, what would be recommended to do with it will depend on the current working or functioning state of the printer itself.

There are some steps needed or helpful tips regardless of which option you choose.

Recycling a printer

Recycling a printer is probably the easiest way to get rid of one, especially if it’s no longer working. Depending on the area you live in, you can drop it off at a local big box store, or some places may offer pick-up services so you don’t have to carry it around. E-waste recycling centers are also good places to drop off an old printer.

If there are none of these readily available or accessible the printer manufacturer may have some other suggestions of where you can dispose of it. If you bought it in-store, there may be some buyback/takeback, or even trading programs available for printers to be fixed/refurbished and then put back on the market.

When recycling a printer there are some steps that are required to be done before you drop it off, since there are some components of the printer that are considered to be potentially toxic and/or harmful to the environment and those living in it.

If your printer has any ‘add-ons’ such as SD cards and other removable memory they should be taken out. Print cartridges should also be removed, and be disposed of separately from the printer using a recycling program. All USB, HDMI, and other cords should be removed as well. This includes the power cord, but if the printer is in good working condition keep the power cord detached and with the printer so it can be refurbished if possible.

Once at the center, and if your printer is not in working condition, it will be disassembled and cleaned. Each separate part will be sorted into recyclable parts and other parts, which will need to be disposed of separately and safely.

Selling a Printer

Printers aren’t in as high a demand as they used to be, so selling your printer may be a bit difficult. However, if you want to try and sell it, you need to know how much the model you have is typically selling on the aftermarket. Take note of the quality/conditions of the printer being sold in comparison to the one you’re thinking about selling. If they’re in similar or the same condition, or if yours is in better condition, chances are you’re probably safe to sell it without whoever buys it feeling scammed.

Once the condition comparison is done, you can go ahead and start finding places to list it. If there is a refurbishment website or company that you know of, they would most likely buy it from you. Other places to list it would be places like social media markets places, Craigslist, eBay, and a few others. Newspaper listings are an option as well, and so are auction-style websites.

The latter two will be more of a process and can take a long time, but potentially it can be bought for higher than what you’d sell it for if you choose to sell it auction-style. Junk shops will also buy old printers- whether or not they’re in working condition, but typically you would have to call ahead of time and see if your brand and model would be accepted.

Donating a Printer

If you’d rather your printer get a new home instead of recycling it, and selling it seems like a hassle, donating it is a wonderful choice. There are plenty of places in local communities that are willing to receive and use donated printers.

Sometimes, local institutions or schools will accept donated printers if they’re in good working condition. Local donation centers may also accept a donated printer, such as Goodwill. You’d have to call and confirm that they’re able to receive it as a donation, some centers are very specific and won’t always accept them. Other options would be to reach out to friends in the area or on social media and see if anyone is in need of a printer. Certain manufacturers will also take printers as donations.

Other Things to Know About Getting Rid of Your Printer

Earlier, we mentioned the need to take out your print cartridges from your printer because they will need to be recycled separately. Typically, retailers will have drop-off programs or mail-in services for the cartridges to be properly and safely taken care of. If there isn’t any in your local community, there are some websites that are centered on recycling used or even unused cartridges – and it’s typically free!

If you have a wi-fi or wireless printer, it would be smart to make sure it’s restored to factory/default settings before getting rid of it, no matter which method you choose. You can typically erase a printer’s memory or hard drive by unplugging it for at least a full sixty seconds, in some cases it may be necessary to physically remove the printer’s hard drive. Or if your printer is a combination scanner and printer, remember to make sure all paper has been removed before recycling, selling, or donating.

Keep in mind that in some cities, or even states, it can be illegal to just throw your printer away with your normal trash. If you’re unsure about whether or not it is, your safest bet would be to choose one of the above three methods. Not only is it legal, but because of some printer properties that could be harmful to the environment, you’re doing the earth a huge favor.

There you have it, three ways to properly and safely get rid of your printing device. Maybe you’ll choose to buy a used printer to replace the one you got rid of!

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