How To Recycle Printers?

Over 50 million metric tons of e-waste are generated globally. Printers are a big part of this problem as businesses are shifting towards digital record-keeping.

Here’s everything you should know about printer recycling, including where to recycle printers.

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Why Should You Recycle Printers?

You should recycle printers for environmental reasons:

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Harmful for the environment - Printers contain harmful chemicals, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and lithium, that are bad for the environment.

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Less e-waste - We dispose of 375 cartridges annually, which amounts to 11 cartridges per second. If we recycle printers, we lower the electronic waste.

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Less mining - Recycling old printers means reusing materials, such as metals and plastic. There’s less need to mine new resources.

You should recycle printers for financial reasons:

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Collection of raw materials - Recyclers can collect materials from recycled printers and use them to manufacture new items, for example, ink cartridges. The result is less money spent.

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Lower disposal costs - It can be costly for a business to dispose of many printers. Recycling them ends up costing less than paying for waste disposal.

You should recycle printers for legal reasons:

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Laws - Many states and municipalities have laws about e-waste recycling; it’s illegal to throw away electronics in the trash.

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Avoid fines - States have high fines (which can reach hundreds of dollars) for throwing away e-waste in regular waste.

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Stored data - Printers can store data that someone can use against you. This is especially harmful to a business.

What Materials Can You Retrieve From Printers?

You can retrieve these materials by recycling your printers:

Parts Retrieved Materials Through Recycling
Industrial plastic Found in the casing and internal parts
Metal Mostly hardware that holds the printer together
Circuit board and wires Used to route power through the mechanisms
Network components These process data and commands from the computer
Cables Such as USB, power, and ethernet, all of which have copper
Ink cartridge Can be reused for other fax machines or printers.

Overall, metals and plastics can be obtained from recycling fax machines. These can be used to make new printers or other items.

How to Recycle Printers?


E-Waste Recyclers

E-waste recyclers have the highest level of expertise, the necessary equipment, and industrial recycling processes for recycling printers. They can retrieve as many materials as possible from your old printer. Moreover, e-waste recyclers know how to destroy the data stored on your printer, so your confidential information is safe.


Municipal Waste Management

More and more municipalities are enforcing e-waste recycling laws, so municipalities are starting to have their own e-waste management programs. However, printers have toxic substances, so municipal waste management programs usually don’t accept printers for recycling. You should contact your municipal waste program and ask if they recycle printers.


Manufacturer/Seller Takeback Programs

Some manufacturers and sellers offer free printer recycling. Check their website or contact them directly to ask about printer recycling. For example, brands that accept printers for recycling include Canon, HP, Epson, OKI, Xerox, and others. National chains that recycle printers include Staples and Best Buy.



If your printer is in working condition, consider donating it to a school, senior center, local community center, or nonprofit organization. Businesses just starting up would also welcome printers. You can donate to organizations such as Goodwill and others that help those in need.



Finally, you can sell your printer and earn money if it still works. List your printer for sale on eBay, Craiglist, or other websites popular in your area. Facebook is also a great place for selling unwanted items. List the printer on the Facebook marketplace or local community groups.

Where to Recycle Printers?

Now that you know the need for recycling printers, there’s no need to google “printer recycling near me” or “how to recycle a printer.” Here’s a complete guide on where to recycle printers no matter where in the US you live.

Drop-off Recycling (for Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area)

If you live in the SF Bay Area, you can recycle your printers in our Burlingame EcoCenter.

Before you visit, check our list of acceptable items. We recycle some items for free or charge a fee. Printer recycling costs $1.00 per pound. Our employee will weigh your printer, and you can pay using a contactless chip reader

Business Recycling Pick-ups (for Businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area)

If you’re a business in the SF Bay Area, you can use our pick-up services.

Here’s how the pick-up service works:

  • Gather printers and other electronic items you want to be recycled.
  • Separate the items with hard drives and data storage parts you want us to put through a data destruction process.
  • Take a photo of the items you want to recycle and email it to us.
  • We’ll give you a quote and let you know the pick-up time.
  • Make sure there’s easy access to the e-waste. We’ll send you an invoice and a certificate letting you know the items have been recycled.

Mail-in Recycling (US-Wide Service)

If you live outside the SF Bay Area, you can mail in your printer.

Here’s how to mail your printer:

  1. Weigh the printer and fill in the mail-in form.
  2. Choose a data destruction service if you want us to erase all data stored in your printer.
  3. Pay the recycling fee online.
  4. Select your preferred shipping company and send us the printer.
  5. We’ll send you an email when we recycle the printer.

Green Directory (US-Wide Service)

Our Green Directory lets you search for certified e-waste recycling companies all over the country. This is a great way to recycle printers because you can find a recycler near you, which means fewer resources are spent on sending and dropping off the printer.

Enter your zip code in the Green Directory, and enter printer in the search field. You’ll get a comprehensive list of all recyclers near you.

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