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The Nerd Side Of Life

Here’s How Your Printer Should Be Properly Recycled

For most of us, recycling our regular household refuse has become second nature, but what about the items that outlive their purpose but cannot go through the normal recycling channels such as defunct printers?

If you have a printer that you want to recycle and you want to find the best way to dispose of it then the first thing to do is check if it works. If you haven’t used it for a while, plug it in and run any cleaning or maintenance processes available such as printing a test page. If it doesn’t work, you can check a few simple things to see if they can be rectified relatively easily. 

A paper jam, for example, can easily be rectified by finding the jam and removing the paper and cleaning any parts that might be affected by dust or a build-up of ink. Check the paper tray and make sure it has enough paper without being overfull.

Similarly, if the printer won’t print, then it’s worth checking that it has enough ink and that the ink cartridges are the correct type. Using ink that isn’t compatible with your make and model of printer could cause printing problems, so check these before writing your printer off and make sure you recycle your toner responsibly. 

Give your printer a new home

If your printer still works, then trying to find someone who will use it is always the best way to dispose of it. You can check local social media to see if any local charities could make use of a free printer, and there are often local sharing sites such as Freecycle where you can find someone who will give it a good home for the rest of its working life. 

A charity shop may be able to find a new home for a printer that works, although some aren’t able to accept electrical items unless they have been PAT tested. Larger charities that handle furniture may accept printers, but it’s best to check.

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You can even offer broken printers in specialise groups as home repair enthusiasts may wish to use them for parts or even restore them to working order once again. If you have a local further education college that offers practical skills courses, they may appreciate a broken printer for students to work on and learn how to take apart and clean the various elements and perform routine maintenance tasks.

You could also see if there is anyone who wants to take the printer off your hands as a learning opportunity. Schools, preschools, youth groups or other groups might offer their charges the chance to take apart electrical machinery and investigate what is inside to learn about the components they are likely to find inside.

Recycling a printer

Some printer manufacturers offer a recycling service to their customers whereby they can return their broken machine to the company that made it. Some larger office supply shops also offer a similar service and will recycle machines originally purchased from them on behalf of their customers. Some will even accept machines not purchased from them originally.

There are also nationwide companies that offer specialist office equipment recycling, so if you are trying to recycle a business printer, or more than one machine, this could be a practical way to ensure that it is handled by qualified experts.

If none of these options are suitable, then local household waste recycling centres often have facilities to accept small electrical items that can then be broken down into their constituent components and recycled thoroughly. 

If you have a printer that has reached the end of its lifespan, then recycling it is the responsible choice and it’s easier than ever to find a way to achieve that. Your printer could have a new career helping a charity achieve their goals, allowing someone to learn new skills or having its components turned into a new machine altogether. 

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