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Thanks for the New Printer, Santa! Now What Do I Do with the Old One?

January 4, 2011 - 6:30am

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This year for Christmas, Santa was kind enough to bring me a new wireless printer to replace my old one. When I opened the box, you can't imagine my glee. I'm a fan of using my laptop as its name implies, so you'll typically find me typing away with it on my lap while snugly ensconced in the living room in front of the fire. Without a wireless printer, though, my cozy work was constantly interrupted so I could schlep into the office to print things—all of which resulted in a lot of grumbling on my part.

The new printer will no doubt make my life easier. But there is one niggling little concern that's putting a dent in all my happiness: what am I supposed to do with my old printer? It seems like these types of questions crop up frequently around the holidays. There are any number of sites—Energy Savers and ENERGY STAR among them—that provide help and guidance for folks looking to purchasing a new energy-efficient bit of gadgetry. But it can be harder to know what to do with your old gadgets once they've been replaced. What's the best way to get rid of them?

The first step is to think twice before you throw those unwanted gadgets to the curb. Many contain hazardous materials that don't belong in a landfill. Instead, consider recycling. Many big box stores will take care of the recycling for you as part of the delivery service for larger appliances. For smaller appliances or electronics, contact your local recycling center or city waste management agency to ask about your recycling options.

If there's still some life left in your gadgetry, you can donate it and let your trash become someone else's treasure. The Environmental Protection Agency has a great round-up of websites to help you source donation opportunities for your electronic devices. For appliances, flip through your phone book for local charities that might be interested. Not only will your old items find new life with someone else, you might also be eligible for a tax deduction for making the donation.

As for me and my old printer, we've got an appointment with a local computer recycler next week. With the old printer safely and responsibly disposed of, I'll be able to enjoy the new one that much more. It's a holiday win for me and the environment.

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