When you buy a new printer what do you do with the old one? Disposing of used electrical equipment can be a bit of a headache, especially if your conscience (quite rightly) prevents you from just chucking it in the nearest skip when no-one’s looking. If you want to know how to ensure that your old printer doesn’t end up in a landfill site but don’t know how, then read on.
In our previous article, How to Recycle Your Toner Cartridges, we saw how easy it was to recycle printer consumables and how even the smallest effort can make a difference to the planet. Recycling the printer itself may involve a bit more effort but it’s not as difficult as you might think. There are a number of schemes that make it easy for you to dispose of your printer responsibly and we’ll take a look at the options available for both businesses and consumers.
Manufacturer Take-back Schemes
Sending your used printer back to the manufacturer free of charge is probably the ideal scenario and it’s even better if they pay you for it. The downside is that only a few manufacturers offer a take-back scheme but, if your printer qualifies, all the hassle of getting it recycled is taken care of. Xerox and Dell offer take-back schemes to businesses, whereas HP offers one for business customers only.
If you buy a new Xerox printer, you can trade in your old device against the new purchase. Xerox will collect your old printer, which can be any make, model or age, and recycle it according to WEEE regulations. You’ll also receive a payment for your old machine, dependent on the model you’re purchasing. If you wish, you can donate part of your payment to the United Nations Plant a Billion Trees campaign.
Dell’s Takeback Scheme allows you to recycle up to two boxes of IT equipment (including printers), of up to 31kg each. If you purchase new Dell equipment, you can return devices from any manufacturer. However, if you’re returning Dell equipment, no new purchase is required. Dell will arrange the collection and recycling of your old device for free, provided that it’s properly packaged.
Business customers purchasing new HP equipment can have their old equipment collected and recycled for free. Where no replacement order is placed, HP will still recycle your old printer but there will be a charge, which is calculated on an individual basis, upon application. Like most other manufacturers, HP directs its non-business customers to take their unwanted IT equipment the nearest WEEE recycling facility.
Under the WEEE regulations, producers of electrical and electronic equipment are required to collect used equipment from a recognised WEEE collection point for recycling. There is no obligation for them to collect waste from individual customers so, if you’re a private customer, a trip to the local recycling centre is most likely in order.
If you’re a business customer wishing to dispose of waste electrical equipment that doesn’t qualify for one of the above schemes, there are alternatives. There are several companies specialising in WEEE disposal that will collect and recycle your old equipment for a fee.
Where possible, they will re-use or refurbish the equipment rather than recycling it and some, such as Safe PC Disposal, will donate any reusable equipment to charity. Most WEEE disposal companies also offer a secure data erasure service, which is vital if your printer or copier has a hard drive.
The list below is by no means comprehensive but should give you a good overview of the companies that offer WEEE disposal for businesses.
If you have any useful information you’d like to add, or if you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below.
by Anthony Morgan