What to Do With a Dead Printer

by Terrie Miller

Inexpensive printers are a disposable commodity these days. It's easy enough to pick up a decent ink jet printer for under $100. When that $100 printer stops working, just buy a brand new printer, with fresh cartridges, and simply start over. Why spend hours troubleshooting something if you're going to have to spend $60 on new cartridges anyhow?

So that's what I did...got that .Mac renewal gift certificate, and ordered up a snazzy new printer.

My plan was to grab a beer, a hammer, and a screwdriver, and see what recyclable pieces I could get out of the old one. And I'll admit, I started down that path with a bit of glee, a la Office Space.

But the truth is, I'd much rather repair something of quality than trash something like this. And I think many of us miss out on the pleasure of repairing or having repaired objects. These are our tools -- wouldn't it be nice if they could give us the same pleasure as a old treasured baseball glove with new lacings, or a nicely worn tool with a new blade?

In any case, I just got into the dismantling when I realized that I wasn't really sure if this plastic was recyclable by our local service or not. And so I turned to Google.

Aha! All is revealed. In my case, Lexmark has a free recycling program that fits the bill nicely (I hope they won't mind getting one that's somewhat in pieces). Here's a list of printer recycling sources I found pretty quickly:

I still think our ultimate goal needs to be to use less altogether, but I'm glad there are some recycling options out there.

Do you have other good leads for recycling -- or even better, ways to avoid the need to recycle in the first place?


2003-12-04 23:45:06
Before you recycle it, do you still get to take a few whacks at it with a hammer? They'll still take it won't they?

After all my printer has put me through, I'd hate to be deprived of that one small bit of satisfaction before I haul its sorry a** off to the recyclers.

Hmmm, looks like I have a few printer issues to resolve...

Seriously, thanks for the great recycling tips. I will share them among friends.

2006-02-26 09:06:17
WHOA, whoa whoa
Recycled computer stuff may not get recycled very well!! Beware!!


2006-06-12 15:15:04
The Epson guy said it doesn't matter if the printer is dismantled.
I don't know if they melt the parts down or really reuse them so I don't know if whacking it makes it less recyclable.
My new strategy is to not buy Epson, and to get the service plan so that hopefully if my new Canon breaks down it can be repaired and I won't have to go through so many computers.
I can't believe I'm PAYING to have them take these esp. if they are going to end up further poisoning people in China. Sick.