What to Do with Old Printers?

Old Printer waiting to die in the pasture.

You’re here because it is time to decide what to do with an old printer. One option that you probably considered was tossing your old printer out the window… but having an Office Space moment isn’t good these days. Recycling is usually the best answer for an aged printer. This can be done through various recycling centers, which may be available in my local area, or by reaching out to the manufacturer directly. Many of these centers accept electronic waste, including printers, ensuring that their components are safely and responsibly disposed of or reused.

Another possibility at my disposal is donating the printer to a nonprofit or educational institution. Schools, libraries, and community centers often benefit from receiving used electronics, as they can help bridge the digital divide for individuals with limited access to technology.

Why Recycle Old Printers

As a somewhat responsible person, I’m always looking for ways to minimize my impact on the environment, especially when it comes to dealing with electronic waste. It is important to properly dispose of old printers because their components contain toxic elements. This makes them a type of e-waste that needs special care.

Recycling old printers demonstrates an important commitment to sustainability. By participating in electronics recycling, I am making sure that the toxic chemicals and components of my old printer do not become long-term pollutants. It also helps conserve valuable resources since recycling plants can extract valuable materials like metals and plastics from their components.

Where to Recycle Printers

I have found that there are many options available for recycling old printers. It’s essential to dispose of them responsibly to reduce environmental impact and ensure that valuable materials are effectively reclaimed. Here, I will outline several choices for recycling your old printer.

One option is to utilize big-box retailers such as Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, and Target. Many of these stores offer recycling programs for old electronics, including printers. Some stores might require a small fee, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure your printer is recycled correctly. It’s worth checking their websites or calling ahead to verify the details of their recycling programs and whether they accept printers.

Another avenue is to contact Dell Reconnect, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill that allows you to drop off your old printer at participating Goodwill locations. This program is likely available if there’s a Goodwill store nearby.

AT&T also offers e-waste recycling programs by partnering with local recycling centers. You can visit their website to find participating locations near you.

For more localized options, consider contacting your local recycling center or electronics recycling center for information about printer recycling. They typically have designated drop-off points where you can drop off old electronics, ensuring they are properly processed and recycled.

There are also non-profit organizations that specialize in e-waste management, such as the World Computer Exchange and the National Cristina Foundation. These organizations work towards bridging the digital divide by repurposing old electronics, including printers. Visit their websites to learn more about their mission and how to donate your printer.

Certification programs such as e-Stewards can help you identify responsible recycling facilities. These facilities adhere to strict environmental and data security standards to ensure your printer is recycled safely and responsibly.

If you live in California or Minnesota, you are in luck, as these states have some of the most advanced e-waste recycling programs in the United States. Visit your state’s official website for more information on designated drop-off locations and recycling guidelines.

Finally, if you want to make some extra cash while recycling your printer, Sellyourprinters.com is an online service that buys used printers. The website has a simple form to fill out, and they will provide you with a quote.

There are several ways to recycle old printers, and it’s essential to choose one that aligns with your values and convenience. Remember that properly disposing of electronic waste benefits the environment and helps conserve valuable resources.

What Happens to Your Old Printer after Recycling

The process begins with the dismantling of the device. This step ensures that the various components, such as plastic housing, circuit boards, and metals, are separated for proper recycling. As a result, the recyclable materials are prepared for further processing, and the hazardous elements are disposed of responsibly.

After dismantling the printer, various parts can be refurbished or repurposed. In some cases, functional components like motors and gears might be harvested and used in the repair or manufacture of new printers. This process not only conserves resources but also saves production costs for manufacturers.

The plastic housing of a printer typically goes through a thorough cleaning and grinding process. The ground plastic can then be repurposed to create new products, contributing to a circular economy. During this procedure, it is important to ensure that the different types of plastics are sorted accurately, as mixing them can lead to lower-quality recycled plastic.

The final recycling step will help keep harmful materials found in electronic devices, such as lead and mercury, from entering landfills.

Other Ways to Dispose Old Printers

I’ve found quite a few ways to responsibly dispose of old printers. One option is to trade in the old printer, as some manufacturers or retailers may offer discounts on new products in exchange for your old device.

Many schools, shelters, and community centers could benefit from a working printer. In Chicago, for example, there are a number of organizations that accept printer donations.

For recycling old electronics, like printers, some retailers offer gift cards as an incentive. Simply bring your old device to the store and you may receive a gift card.

Many manufacturers offer mail-in recycling programs as a convenient way to properly dispose of electronic waste for those who can’t drop off old printers at recycling centers or donation sites. In this case, you package your old printer and mail it to a recycling facility.

By exploring these options, I can be confident in finding a responsible and environmentally friendly way to dispose of my old printer while benefiting someone else or even getting a small reward in return.

Best Practices for Safe Disposal of Printers

When it comes to printer disposal, ensuring the process is environmentally friendly and safe should be a top priority. Here are a few steps I would follow for the safe disposal of printers:

  • One simple method for proper disposal is to take the printer to a recycling center. These centers specialize in properly disposing of electronic waste, including printers.
  • Retail stores and local recycling centers may have dedicated drop-off points for electronic waste. It’s important for me to check if these facilities exist in my area and ensure they follow environmentally safe guidelines.
  • Donating my old printer to a local Goodwill or charity organization is another option.


You should now know what to do with old printers. Generally, recycling and donating are the best options since fixing an old printer is difficult if you are not a professional. I believe that the key to safe printer disposal lies in being environmentally conscious and utilizing local resources like recycling centers, retail stores, and charity organizations.

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