How to Recycle Broken Printers

Unfortunately, printers do not last forever and eventually even the most pricey model will break. Many people choose to simply toss their printer into a convenient trash bin or dumpster. This can be a potentially dangerous decision because printers contain environmentally unfriendly chemicals, including arsenic, that can soak into the ground of a landfill. Properly recycling a printer will ensure that the components make their way to an acceptable final resting place.

Step

Donate the printer, if possible. A printer that is only slightly broken and being replaced for a newer model can be donated to a charity where the printer will be refurbished and used, or given away, or sold with the proceeds going to fund the charity. The EPA's eCycling site, as well as the umbrella organization Charity Choices, are both good resources for finding a charity that might take your printer.

Step

Contact the printer's manufacturer. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell have voluntary take-back programs where the printer can be shipped or dropped off and recycled for free.

Step

Drop the printer off at a local e-waste recycling center. These are generally found in larger communities and cities. Each e-waste recycling center is governed by its own rules, so some may charge for the service, while others do not. Many local recycling programs sponsor e-waste collection days where you can bring your printers and other electronic waste in. Check with your local recycling program about this.

Step

Drop the printer off at a major electronics department store that recycles. Some electronics stores, such as Best Buy and Office Depot, will accept the printer and recycle it for a price. Smaller, independently owned electronics stores in your area may also accept printers for recycling.