Electronic waste – the careless disposal of electronic items, otherwise known as e-waste, grows every year. Recent statistics have shown that roughly only 10% of this waste is disposed of properly. The other 90% ends up in ecologically unsound incinerators or landfills. The toxins released by either one, which can include mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and selenium, into our air and into our groundwater is the stuff of nightmares.

Unfortunately, the easiest solution is to just throw something away. Put it in the trash and forget it. Doing the right thing takes some extra effort. But it’s not nearly as complicated or time consuming as you might think. And the advantage of knowing you’re taking the ecologically smart steps is worth the effort.

So, your old copier or printer has died, or it’s too old for your needs and you’ve purchased a newer model. What to do with the old one?

Donate It
Don’t ever forget that if your old device still works, there are people and places out there who are willing to put it to good use. Consider donating it to a school, a non-profit organization, or a low-income community. These are the kinds of places that don’t usually have the budget to outfit themselves with the latest and greatest technology. Donating your used equipment to a school or non-profit organization can also help you qualify for tax deductions. Most non-profits will provide a donation receipt for tax purposes if you request it (but keep a record of what you donated and to whom, just in case).

Manufacturer or Supplier Take-Back
Check with the manufacturer of the machine. Some companies have “take-back” programs in place for recycling e-waste such as non-working copiers and printers. Not only does this option keep the hazardous materials out of the landfill, but it allows the manufacturer to recapture and reuse many resources from the machine such as raw materials and heavy metals.

If you’ve purchased your device from a managed services supplier, they too may offer some sort of reclamation program. Check with them at the initiation of any managed services contract to see what is available.

Find a Licensed Disposal Facility
If you’ve purchased your device from a retailer (off-the-shelf), and none of the above suggestions work for you, then you may need to search out your closest licensed disposal facility. It’s probably closer than you think.

Sometimes privately run, sometimes governmentally-managed, these companies will dispose of your copy machine, printer, or fax machine in an environmentally safe way that will meet legal obligations and achieve the maximum environmental benefit of disposal. Generally a disposal facility will take printers or copy machines and dismantle them into composite materials, which can then be recycled and entered back into the manufacturing process, thereby helping the environment and preserving natural resources.

Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is that you make the extra effort to recycle or repurpose your copy machine or printer. For more information on device recycling, contact us.