How to Dispose Of a Printer?

Like any other device or electronic item, printers also undergo wear and tear.

Whether you no longer use your printer because you have bought an updated model or your printer no longer works, you should not throw it away into the trash.

It is not only irresponsible on your part to throw away a printer, but it might be illegal where you live.

Read through this article post to learn the right way to dispose of your old printer.

How You Can Dispose of a Printer

There are several ways in which you can dispose of your printer, whether it is functioning correctly or not.

The first option is to contact the manufacturer to see if they can recycle your printer.

Many electronic and office supply stores also have programs to recycle old electronics.

If neither of those options works, you can find several e-waste collection and recycling centers in your city to drop off your printer.

Going down this route will allow manufacturers to use parts in your printer that are recyclable.

For environmentally-conscious people, this is the most viable option.

If, however, your printer works and you only have to replace it, you can donate it to a public school.

You can also contact a charity organization to make sure that it reaches someone who needs it.

Below are all the ways in which you can dispose of your used printer responsibly:

Prepare the Printer for Disposal

Before setting out to dispose of your printer, check your printer for any SD cards or removable memory attached to it.

Next, unplug the power cord, remove the cartridge from the printer, and disconnect the USB cable that connects it with your computer.

It is essential to remove these parts from your printer because you have to dispose of cartridges separately through recycling.

As for the connecting cable and power cord, you can either reuse these for other appliances or dispose of them separately.

If your printer is functioning correctly, and you have planned to donate it to someone, then drop off the connecting cables and power cord with the printer.

Also read: How To Dispose Of Old Cell Phones?

Disposal of Printer

You can take your used printer to an e-waste collection and recycling center for proper disposal.

These centers first disassemble different parts of the printer and clean them. Cleaning removes ink and other issues that might not have been resolved while the printer was still being used by you.

Next, recyclable materials like plastic, metal and other materials are set aside so that they can be recycled for reuse.

The recycling centers safely dispose of materials that are not recyclable.

Some recycling centers might even pay you for the recyclable parts in your printer. Following are some options where you can take your used printer for recycling:

Also read: How To Dispose Of Computer Monitors?

Manufacturers that Offer Recycling

First off, you should check with the manufacturers of your printer. Many manufacturers offer their customers to drop off the printers that they had manufactured for recycling.

You can visit the website of the company which made your printer to find out if they accept old printers.

If they do, you can also find the information regarding the program and how it works.

They might also ask you to fill out a form. Different manufacturers like HP and Epson offer to recycle your printers.

Stores with Recycling Programs

Many electronics supply stores have recycling and disposal programs that allow customers to take their used electronics for proper disposal.

You can reach out to the store you purchased your printer from and inquire if they have a recycling program.

If they refuse, you can contact other electronics retail stores that can take your printer for recycling.

Best Buy, OfficeMax, and Staples are some popular electronic recycling services that you can find online.

E-Waste Collection Centers

E-waste is one of the leading causes of environmental pollution and deteriorating health conditions in different countries.

Many governments around the world have started to set up e-waste collection centers.

These centers accept used electronics and recycle them safely. You can search online for an e-waste recycling center near your place to drop off your printer.

Some recycling centers also offer free or paid transportation of your used electronics. You can find about your local e-waste recycling center at E-cycling Central: Find a Recycler.

Also read: How To Dispose of Floppy Disks?

Buyback Programs by the Manufacturers

Many manufacturers also offer to buy back old printers, allowing you to make a buck on your otherwise useless printer.

You will have to visit the website first to get all the information regarding the buyback offer of the manufacturer.

You might also have to fill out a form online after which you will receive a quote.

Next, you will have to print a shipping label. You are responsible for the packaging and shipping of the printer, but once the company receives it, they will pay you for the shipment.

The company will also pay you for the commercial value of the printer if any.

Some manufacturers also allow the customers to drop off their printer at a retail partner which eliminates the need for shipping.

Manufacturers like HP also accept printers from other manufacturers.

Recycling Cartridge of the Printer

As mentioned earlier, before disposing of your printer, you should take out the cartridge from your printer.

You have to recycle cartridges separately to prevent them and the ink in them from ending up in landfills.

Some retailers that sell cartridges have drop boxes where you can leave your used cartridges for recycling.

You can also ship the cartridge to the manufacturer for recycling.

The recycling of cartridges drains out all the ink contained in the cartridge. It then breaks down the cartridge before recycling or disposing of any of its material.

Donating Old Printers

You can find a public organization like a school or NGO yourself to donate the printer.

Alternately, you can contact a charity organization to drop off your printer.

Some organizations accept computer equipment and then distribute it to programs or low-income families with a need for a printer.

Some organizations sell used appliances that are in a working condition to raise funds for community service.

Also read: How To Dispose of Old iPad

Why Do You Need to Dispose of Your Printer Responsibly?

Printers contain toxic materials that can be hazardous for the environment.

If you leave printers in the trash to end up in landfills, these toxic materials can seep in the soil or enter the air causing air and land pollution.

Apart from the cartridge, other components like the circuit board can contain harmful metals such as lead and mercury.

Printers, like different types of e-waste, account for the most significant source of mercury in the waste.

Following are some essential reasons why you need to dispose of your old printers responsibly:

To Prevent Pollution from Volatile Organic Compounds

When the manufacturers produce a new laser cartridge, it uses over three quarts of oil.

For inkjet cartridges, the required amount is about three ounces of oil.

Discarding the cartridges in the trash can cause the volatile organic compounds and toxic metals in the cartridge to pollute the soil and air. It is essential to recycle the cartridges separately for this very reason.

To Conserve Energy

Recycling of printers and cartridges also helps in conserving natural resources and energy. It reduces the energy which the manufacturing process of these materials requires.

Recycling can save billions of gallons of oil that are used during production.

About 97% of the materials in cartridges can be recycled, which means you can reduce waste to as low as 3% by recycling the cartridges responsibly.

Free up Landfill Space

Due to the increasing amount of waste created by an ever-increasing population, space in landfills is becoming more limited.

We are readily running out of it and throwing away electronics means taking up more of this space.

The United States alone produces 200 million tons of waste annually. To free up landfill space, it is crucial that everyone takes part in recycling and dispose of electronics in the right way.

Conserving landfill space will not only make waste management easier, but it will also prevent our environmental pollution and health hazards caused by the dumping of electronics in landfills.


If your printer has hit the end of its life or you do not need your old printer anymore, recycling or donating are both very viable options.

Many jurisdictions have now made it illegal to dispose of your used printers and other e-waste directly into the trash.

Many manufacturers are also going to great lengths to offer recycling options to their customers.

You must act responsibly on your part and join hands with others to protect the environment from hazards.

You may also like the following articles: