These days it can be tough to figure out what to do with your old, worn out computer equipment. Things are upgraded so quickly you may find you are swimming in a sea of outdated or broken monitors, PCs and printers. When it comes to disposing your old printer, you have several options.
If you are planning to throw away the printer, be sure you remove the ink or toner cartridges first. They contain toxic materials that can cause a great deal of harm and poison waterways and soil. Throwing away the printer is the least ecologically sound method of disposal, so consider a few other options before tossing the printer into the dumpster.
A lot of communities offer a community pick up once every few months. You can contact your area authorities to determine when and if this happens. Typically, they will require that you leave your printer and other used equipment on the curbside. This is a great option for bulk disposal of old computer equipment.
You may also have the option of turning in your old printer at a computer store. Some places even offer trade in deals. This means you may be able to upgrade your printer at a discount just by bringing in the old machine. Some stores even offer store credit, so if you can choose a piece of equipment that is not a printer.
Some places take used printers as donations. This is becoming less and less popular because organizations are overrun with old computer equipment. However, it will not hurt to check a few area schools, non-profit organizations, or shelters. You may also want to try to sell your printer at a second hand store or thrift shop. This way you can make a bit of money back on your old piece of equipment. Certain businesses specialize in refurbishing old equipment. You may be able to sell or donate your printer to them and they can upgrade it and sell it to someone else at a profit.
Another great idea is to list your computer on Freecycle or Craigslist. Both offer a chance for people to claim or buy your used computer and put it to good use. Passing it on to someone else is a great way to make sure it has a longer life.
If handing your old printer over to someone else does not seem like the right option for you, try re-purposing the printer for your own use. This will take a great deal of creativity, but you will be proud of your effort once you are utilizing your printer for an alternative purpose. If you empty the contents of the printer, leaving just the shell, you can use it as a safe. A burglar would probably not look inside of an old printer for valuables. You could even install a small lock if that feels safer.
Children can use the emptied printer to store art supplies, or they can make the printer into the art. Allow them to paint, disassemble, and create with the printer. This will not only teach them about technology, it will allow them to get creative with art. Be sure the project is age appropriate and supervise your child if need be. Regardless of what you decide to do with your old printer, consider ways that will keep it out of the dumpster and extend its life.