How to Dispose of Old Printers

Knowing how to dispose of old printers is crucially important for your office. Sooner or later, your existing equipment will break down or no longer meet your needs. When this happens, you cannot just throw it in the garbage. Old printers are a type of electronic waste that requires special handling. Improper disposal can have serious consequences for both you and your community. The best way to get rid of your printers is by recycling them.

Why Can’t You Throw Away Old Printers?

For one thing, it is illegal to dispose of e-waste in a regular landfill. The federal government has laws against it, such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Not only that, but 25 states, which is exactly half, currently have their own e-waste recycling laws on the books. The penalties for improper disposal of e-waste can be severe. Mishandling of e-waste in 2014 cost AT&T $52 million in fines.

There is a good reason why the government is so concerned about e-waste in landfills and so strict about enforcing the laws prohibiting it. Printers and other electronics contain metals such as mercury and lead that are toxic. Throwing e-waste in the garbage results in one of two scenarios: Either it is incinerated, or it goes to a landfill. In the former case, the ash from the fire can pollute the air with toxic chemicals. If e-waste ends up in a landfill, the hazardous material can leach into the ground and contaminate the soil. Recycling e-waste ensures that all hazardous materials are disposed of safely, protecting the soil and the air from pollution.

How Do You Prepare Printers for Recycling?

You don’t have to do anything too drastic before recycling your printer, but it does require some minor preparation. If the printer is still in working order, include the power cable when recycling it. This is so that it can be refurbished if possible. Otherwise, remove all cables, including USB cables, from the printer. These can be used again with other devices. Print cartridges have their own separate recycling program, so they should be removed before recycling the printer. You should also remove any add-ons, such as removable memory or SD cards.

What Happens to the Printer During the Recycling Process?

When you recycle your printer at High Tech Recycling, you have the choice of either arranging for us to come to pick it up for you or dropping it off yourself at our facility. There is a small fee for pickups, but dropping it off is completely free.

Once we receive the printer, the first step is to analyze it to see if it can be refurbished. If not, the second step is to disassemble it. Because the parts may have developed some corrosion or been stained by ink during the printer’s useful life, we clean all the parts.

We then separate the parts into materials that are recyclable and those that are not. Inevitably, there are parts in your printer that are not recyclable. We keep these separate from recyclable metals and plastics, disposing of them safely so that they do not end up in a landfill and cause harm.

What Are Other Benefits of Recycling Electronics?

Apart from keeping hazardous materials out of landfills and avoiding fines, recycling electronics has other advantages. Recycling helps to reduce the need for mining raw materials, which helps preserve the environment and natural resources that keep becoming scarcer.

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