How to Recycle a Printer

Out with the old and in with the new! When it comes time to get a new printer it can feel almost impossible to know what to do with the old one. Short of letting it collect dusk on the old shelf, there are far more productive things it can be used for. Recycling an old printer can be the quickest and most eco-friendly way to get it out of your hair.

Recycle an unwanted printer easily, by finding a local supply store or e-waster facility and dropping the printer off, upcycling the printer and using it for parts, finding a community center to donate it to, selling it to someone, or even repairing it to working capacity.

Recycling a printer doesn’t always mean you take it to the recycling plant and get it melted down, although that can be a reliable option. Recycling a printer can mean donating, upcycling, or even restoring/repairing.


Let’s state the obvious, sometimes being able to just drop off the printer and forget all about it is the easiest and most convenient way to recycle. When this seems like the easiest option just find your local paper supply store, like OfficeMax or Staples, and drop it off. These companies manage the printer recycling from there. Many of these companies also offer a “buy-back” program that lets them buy the printer off of you to incentivize you to recycle your printer. Another place to take a printer is an e-waste facility. These places specialize in recycling electronic devices to minimize the e-waste released and eliminate the harm it can have on the environment (source).

However, if you are going to take your printer to one of these places there’s some quick prep work that has to be done first. Before taking a printer to be recycled any ink cartridges and fluorescent lights need to be removed. This allows the full printer body to be recycled with ease (source).


Sometimes rather than just getting rid of something, it can be nice to see if there are any other uses for it. A printer fits this case perfectly. Printers are full of so many little parts that can be used for so many other things (source). Start by slowly dismantling the printer until it is broken up into individual compartments. Then take each compartment and slowly begin removing screws, removing gears, and taking apart the plastic coverings. In the end, you will be left with handfuls of screws, gears, fans, and power supply devices. These parts can then be used in other electronics or household repairs. 


If you have a printer you don’t want anymore, and you need to get in out of the house, consider donating the printer. Donating your printer will help you, and someone else. By getting it out of your house, and getting it to someone who needs it and will use it. To donate your printer, find your nearest thrifting center that accepts printers. Places like Goodwill or Salvation Army may accept your printer. Give the store and call ahead of time to see if they accept printers.


Another great way to get rid of your printer and put it to good use would be to sell it! There are tons of people who would love to buy your printer off of you and either use it as is, fix it, or use it for its parts. Now, of course, this doesn’t sound like the easiest option. You would have to post pictures and information about the printer on places like Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace. Then you would have to respond to people and put together some type of pick up or drop off of the printer. This may not be the easiest and quickest plan, but it is still an option you can definitely choose.

Restore and Repair

Maybe your printer has some nice memories paired along with it. Maybe you got it as a gift and you would hate to see it go. Or possibly you just don’t want to spend the time and energy taking it anywhere. Well, if those are any of your reasons for not wanting to get rid of your printer then this way of recycling might be for you. If you have a printer that you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of, consider restoring and preparing the printer so that it can be used once again. This option can either be done by yourself if you know how to do it or have watched videos, or it can be done by someone else. If you know a friend who has done this or someone you could pat to do it, consider bringing the printer to them to have it fixed up and be as good as new again.

This easy way of fixing your printer not only makes it easy for you because all you have to do is drop it off and pay, but it also means that you don’t have to buy another printer. You obviously don’t want to get rid of it, so repairing it and making it able to be used again is a great way to get what you want and need!

My grandfather used to make printers when he was alive, and my dad has one of those printers that my grandpa helped to design. This printer has been sitting in my parent’s house for ages, collecting dust on the shelf. I believe it doesn’t work anymore and hasn’t been used for ages. But, my parents have an emotional attachment to the printer because it reminds them of what my grandpa accomplished. If they wanted to, they could do this idea and get it completely restored back to the condition it was once in.

This is just one amazing example to help explain the importance of doing what you need and want when it comes to old things like printers. Even if it’s broken beyond belief, let someone take a shot at it and try to fix it. You may be surprised by what can be done!

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