How To Recycle A Printer

You may think that after buying a printer, you own it forever. This is not the case. For the sake of recycling and reusing resources, printers are often recycled or reused by other people around the world.

The process is actually easy. All you need to do is follow these simple steps described in this article. Do it the wrong way, you will make a mess!

How To Recycle A Printer- The Steps

Step 1: Let The Ink Run Out

Do not disassemble the printer until it is out of ink. Remove the ink cartridges from the printer, and discard them. You can recycle or reuse used ink cartridges if you want to, but it’s not recommended that you do so because of possible damage caused by dried up ink in a printhead nozzle.

Step 2:  Prepare Supplies

Find a suitable container that you can use to apply solvent. You will need:

  • A water-dampened towel
  • A freezer (Optional)
  • Reclaiming solvent/water solution
  • Safety gloves and goggles.

In a well ventilated area, lay the towel over a table. Your printer should be placed on top of the towel, and its power cord should go through one of the adjacent sides.

If you have a freezer nearby, this is your chance to use it! If you do not have a freezer, you can skip this step and proceed with Step 3.

Take the printer and place it inside the freezer for at least 8 hours or more. This will allow all solvent to evaporate from your printer.

When done correctly, the dried ink on the printhead nozzle will crack and crumble as you try to remove it (This is a good sign.)

Step 3: Remove The Ink Stains And Clean The Printing Heads

Take your reclaiming solvent/water solution, pour it into a container, and then submerge the printhead in it. Dissolve as much of the dried ink stains on the nozzle as possible.

It is important to note that you should wear protective gloves before removing dried ink stains, as solvent can be harmful to your skin.

Step 4: Disassemble The Printer

After the dried ink has been dissolved, you can now safely disassemble your printer. Remove all screws and remove the cover of the printer. Do not forget to unplug the power cord before doing so!

Now, carefully remove the handful of screws that hold the printer’s processing boards together. This will allow you to locate and remove your printhead cartridge.

Step 5: Washing/Flushing The PrintheadAnd Cartridge

Harmful contaminants are often left on a printhead. To clean it thoroughly, you need to wash it with solvent and water.

Step 6: Drying The Printer

Once the printhead is clean, let it dry for at least 30 minutes before use. Do not attempt to plug the printer in yet because its parts are still wet.

Now comes the hard part- You must now wait until your printer’s parts are completely dry. For the following 6 hours, do not touch any wet components or you will get shocked.

Step 7: Reassembling The Printer

Once your printer’s parts are dry, reassemble it back to its original state (except for the power cord) and turn on the printer by plugging in its power source. If it works properly, then you have successfully recycled your printer!

Tips For When Recycling A Printer

1.  When you install a new cartridge, make sure it is compatible with your printer’s model and software version.

2. Always use gloves when working with reclaiming solvent and water solution. Solvent can contain harmful chemicals and/or alcohol which may cause injuries to your skin (including burns) if not handled correctly.

3. Do not allow old cartridges to dry up inside your printer. If you keep it, the ink will settle and clog your printhead nozzles.

4. Do not attempt to disassemble a laser printer because it contains high voltage elements that may cause electrocution and/or injuries if handled incorrectly. When recycling an entire unit, contact an expert who knows how to safely remove the toner cartridge.

5. Always keep track of your printer’s serial number, product code, model name, and warranty dates in case you need them later on when purchasing new cartridges or repairing faulty printer components.

6. Never recycle an ink cartridge that has been refilled with remanufactured (non-genuine) ink.

Cautions For When Recycling A Printer

1. Put your printer in an open space with plenty of ventilation or outside, as you will need to use solvent and water solution to break down dried ink stains inside the printer.

2. Keep your reclaiming solvent in a closed container, preferably one with childproof locks to prevent children from drinking it by accident.

3. Do not pour excess or used solvent into drains or sewers because it can contaminate the water supply system and cause environmental problems (e.g., water contamination). Dispose of used solvent at a designated collection center or in accordance with local regulations.

4. It is recommended to work with a partner so that one individual can focus on applying solvent and water solution while the other person can remove dried ink stains from the printhead nozzle.

5. If you have long hair, make sure it is tied into a bun before working with a printer as it may accidentally come into contact with the printhead and/or hot components, which can cause injury.

6. Make sure you have a bucket of solvent and water solution ready for hand-washing your printhead by dipping the tip of your fingers to quickly dissolve dried ink stains (Do not immerse the entire cartridge in the bucket).

7. Do not wear synthetic clothing when working with a printer because it can easily catch fire from hot components. Wear clothes that are made of cotton or any natural fiber to avoid injuries in case your clothes catch on fire due to contact with a hot component.

8. Make sure you have a container of water and towel ready for putting out any accidental fires that may happen when working with reclaiming solvent, break down dried ink stains inside the printer.


You now know how to disassemble a printer and recycle its components as well as how to reassemble your printer.

The task isn’t a rocket science, but you must be aware that there are some precautions to take when recycling a printer, in order to avoid injuries and/or damages to your property.

Hopefully, this article will be helpful to anyone who wants to recycle a printer.

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