When your copy machine or printer finally bites the dust or is replaced with a new model, you may be wondering what to do with your old machine. Many people actually don’t know that these machines contain materials that can pollute the earth, and incorrect disposal of them is incredibly hazardous to the environment. Read on to learn how to properly dispose of a copier or printer.
At an increase of about 8 percent per year, electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. waste stream. Contributing to the problem is the fact that less than 10 percent of electronics such as printers, fax machines, etc. are recycled – the remaining 90 percent end up in incinerators or landfills where their harmful toxins are release into the atmosphere and can then cause harm to your health. Instead of allowing these chemicals (including mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and selenium) to enter our air or water supply, consider the following alternatives:
Donate Your Old Copier or Printer
One alternative to throwing out your old copy machine is to donate it to a school, non-profit organization, or low-income community. This is an excellent option if the copier or printer is still in good working order and you are simply replacing it with a newer model. You will keep the unit and all its toxins out of the landfill, and the organization you donate it to will surely appreciate it. Additionally, donating your used equipment to a school or non-profit organization 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 of what you donated and to whom, just in case).
Check www.recycles.org for a full list of schools, organizations, and non-profit businesses that accept donations of electronics.
If donating your copiers or printers is not an option, check with the manufacturer of the machine. Many companies now have ‘take-back’ programs in place for recycling e-waste such as 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.
Find a Licensed Disposal Facility
Last but not least is the option of finding a government licensed electronics disposal facility. These companies will dispose of your copy machine, printer, or fax machine in an environmentally 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 such as Canon copy machines or Toshiba copy machine 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.
Whatever option you choose, what’s most important is that you choose to recycle or refurbish your copy machine or printer – don’t let it end up in the landfill!