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Grow Your Business Technology

How to Get Rid of Old Printers

Old printers
Credit: Shutterstock

Getting rid of old printers is just like getting rid of other electronics – you can't just throw them out. Printer ink cartridges contain toxic substances. Many states have legislation against the disposal of electronic waste (e-waste). And businesses that illegally dump electronics can face huge fines. Most notable of which was in 2014, when AT&T was fined $52 million for mishandling e-waste and illegally sending hazardous materials to landfills. 

So how do you get rid of those old printers that are sitting around collecting dust and cluttering your office? You can recycle them, donate them or sell them. Here's how.

The fastest and easiest way to get rid of old printers is to recycle them. Retailers like Best Buy often have labeled recycle bins in the store, so you can just drop off your printers and go. Other stores that have recycle programs include Target, Staples and Office Depot.

Another option is to go to an e-waste collection center. Depending on where you live, a center likely already exists in your area. Check with your city hall, city or county website and local communities for e-waste drop-off locations and hours. 

To make it even easier on consumers and business owners to get rid of old tech, some cities and counties also hold day- or weekend-long events to collect electronic waste. Drop your printers off at the designated location and you're good to go. 

You can also check ecyclingcentral.com to find e-waste recycling programs and private companies that collect old printers near you. Start by selecting your state. You can then organize search results by program name, type of organization, city and zip code.

Another option is to contact the printer's manufacturer. Epson, Canon, HP, Sony and Samsung all have e-waste recycling and take-back programs, but be sure to call them first to see if they'll accept your printer.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. If they still work, there are many organizations that will be happy to take your old printers and put them to good use. These include schools, recreation centers, community organizations, thrift shops, charities and nonprofits.

You can also donate old printers to organizations that specialize in electronics outreach programs for those in need. For instance, the World Computer Exchange provides electronics – such as computers and peripherals – to developing countries. A list of currently needed items is available on their website. 

There are also manufacturers that work with organizations to recycle and repurpose electronics, including printers. One such manufacturer is Dell. The Dell Reconnect program, in partnership with Goodwill, lets you drop off your printers at any Goodwill location and they'll take care of the rest.

Even if your printers don't work, don't think you shouldn't donate them. Many charities and organizations can still sell nonworking electronics for cash or trade them in for gift cards.

If they are in good condition, there are several ways to turn those old printers into cash. Here are some places where you can sell used printers:

  • Printers Jack: Get a quote, ship and get paid by check or via PayPal. printers-jack.com
  • Sellyourprinters.com: Similar to Printers Jack, but this service specializes in refurbishing laser and dot matrix printers from IT departments. sellyourprinters.com 
  • Online marketplaces: List your printer on sites like eBay, Amazon, Bonanza and Craigslist.
  • Social media: Simply make a post, or join buy and sell groups on Facebook to sell locally

Even if your old printers no longer work, you can still get some of your investment back by selling them to junk shops and repair shops. Depending on where you live, you may need to take some time finding these places, and then calling to see if they accept your type of printer and brand. 

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.