First question. Can’t I just take it to a dumpster?
NO. This doesn’t mean “no, you shouldn’t”. It means you are prohibited. Office equipment contains many hazardous chemicals (including mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and selenium) that are incredibly dangerous to the environment if improperly disposed of. For legal and environmental reasons, let’s look at other options!
Can I donate it?
Absolutely! Most companies donate their old equipment to schools, churches, non-profit organizations, or low-income communities. This is an excellent option if your machine is still functional and you’re upgrading to a newer model. You will keep toxins and waste out of the landfill, and the organization you donate it to will definitely appreciate it. Additionally, donating your used equipment can 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, just in case).
Can I send it back to the manufacturer?
Sometimes. Check with the manufacturer of your machine! Many companies now have ‘take-back’ programs in place for non-working copiers and printers. This option not only keeps the hazardous materials from your machines out of the landfill, but it allows the manufacturer to reuse many resources from the machine such as raw materials and heavy metals.
Can I recycle it?
Of course! You can find a government licensed electronics disposal facility or do a quick search for your local recycling programs. Your local programs can be found on your town/county’s website most of the time. These facilities will dispose of your copy machine, printer, or fax machine in a safe way that will meet your legal obligations and achieve the maximum environmental benefit of disposal. Generally, a disposal facility will take printers or copy machines and dismantle them into their composite materials which can then be recycled and entered back into the manufacturing process, thereby helping the environment and preserving natural resources.