How to Dispose of Old Printers

By Andy Warycka

Don't trash that old printer -- recycle or even get some money for it.
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Whether your printer has died or just been replaced by a newer one, it's tempting to take it out into the alley and give it the old "Office Space" treatment with a baseball bat. While satisfying in an odd way, it's not the most ecologically -- and in some cases economically -- sound idea. So put the bat away and get ready to trade in or recycle your old printer.


Printers, computers, cell phones and other electronic devices have a useful lifespan, and when they reach the end of that life, they are discarded. Typically called e-waste, or electronic waste, due to technology development these items are being discarded at an ever-increasing rate and taking up space in landfills. This also leads to the possibility of substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic leaching into the environment.

Buyback and Trade-In

If your old printer still works, HP offers a consumer buyback program where you can get an HP gift card or even cash for your old device, even if it wasn't made by HP. You can get an instant quote up front, so no surprises about how much your printer is worth. If the company can't offer you anything, HP will still recycle it for you.

If you're still shopping for a new printer, consider one of the various trade-in programs available. Dell offers a trade-in discount for upgrading from your older Dell printer. Office Max and Staples also offer trade-in incentives for new printer purchases from time to time.


Another option for a working printer is to donate it. Manufacturers such as HP and Xerox will accept donations of functional printers, which they turn around and donate to the National Cristina Foundation, a non-profit organization that distributes used electronics to benefit at-risk kids and people with disabilities. Goodwill and other secondhand thrift stores will take donations of working printers as well.


If the printer is truly dead -- or no one wants it -- don't pitch it into the dumpster. Both Best Buy and Staples accept printers and other electronics for recycling, dead or alive. Printer manufacturers such as HP and Epson offer recycling services for their devices. Many cities and communities also offer e-waste recycling drop-off locations and collection days throughout the year, so check with your local municipality.