A guide to recycling an unwanted printer

A guide to recycling an unwanted printer


In this age of consumerism, where technological advancements are taking place all the time, the issue of rapidly outdated technology is very real. A piece of equipment which one year seems like the answer to all your problems, can quickly lose its value the following year, both in terms of finance and functionality. There’s not much we can do about the fact that equipment becomes outmoded so quickly, but we can all work to make sure that outmoded tech isn’t merely consigned to the landfill.

Fortunately, it’s becoming more and more easy to dispose of an unwanted printer in a way that’s good for everyone. We look at the options…

If the printer is still working.

If it’s still in good working order, but no longer what you need, then you might like to give some thought to the Circular Economy. This is an alternative to a traditional linear economy that involves making, using and then disposing of items. The idea is to keep things in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst they’re in use. To that end you might want to find a new owner for the printer, either by selling it on a website such as eBay or by giving it away via a network such as Freecycle.
If you can return it to the manufacturer
A few manufacturers actually offer a take-back scheme, where a qualifying printer can be sent back to the company that made it. This tends to be free, or even better, the manufacturers will sometimes pay you for your unwanted printer. Xerox, Dell and HP all offer take-back schemes to businesses and business customers:

If you’re buying a replacement from Xerox.

If you buy a new printer from Xerox, they will allow you to part-trade your old printer for the new model, regardless of its make, model and how long you’ve had it. Xerox then ensure your old printer is recycled in-line with the Government’s WEEE regulations (more on that below). Depending on the model of printer you’re buying, this trade may involve a payment from Xerox, part of which can then be donated to the UN’s Plant A Billion Trees campaign. So all in all, you don’t have the hassle of recycling your old printer, you get a discount from your new printer and you’re helping to make the planet a little bit greener in the process.

If you’re buying a replacement from Dell.

Dell also have an impressive takeback scheme that can help you to do your bit for the environment. When purchasing any new Dell equipment, you’re entitled to give them two boxes of unwanted IT equipment, including old devices, which can weigh up to 31kg each. As long as the old equipment is properly packaged up, these boxes will be collected and recycled at no cost to you.

It’s worth noting that if you’ve bought something new from Dell, then they’ll take away tech from any manufacturer. However, if you’ve not bought anything from them they’re not prepared to recycle non-Dell equipment as part of their free-of-charge scheme.

If you’re buying a replacement from HP.

HP have also set up a scheme to help you out if you’re a business customer. When buying new equipment from them, you can have your old printer collected and recycled for free. They also offer a tech collection and recycling service for people who have not ordered anything from them though charges, which are calculated on an individual basis, do apply.

The government’s WEEE regulations.

If none of the above applies to you then you’ll need to find another way to dispose of your old printer. The good news is the government, and their WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations, demand that all manufacturers of electricals and electronic equipment must collect used and unwanted equipment from a designated WEEE disposal site. So it’s simply a case of finding your nearest and taking your items there. Alternatively you can hire a company that specialises in WEEE disposal and will collect and recycle or refurbish your old equipment for a fee.

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