So, your card printer is on its last legs.
It's time to replace or upgrade, but what's the best way to dispose of your outgoing ID printer?
Whether you need a new ID card printer due to business requirements or general wear and tear, disposing of your old model sustainably is something you should consider as you look to bring in a new one.
When is it time to replace my ID Card Printer?
There is no hard and fast rule to this one, but two of the key factors are usage and maintenance (or lack thereof).
There's a good reason that most ID card printer brands give between 2-5 years warranty on their printers - this is the lifecycle that they would expect you to get from your printer without any major problems.
After the warranty period, it's more common that you will run into problems, both with regards to technical hardware issues and poor print quality. E.g. one of the most common issues you may run into as your printer comes to the end of its lifespan is poorly printed cards, as the rubber compounds of the internal rollers begin to breakdown and become brittle.
Before you look to pack your printer off to the recycling plant, check if it has a trade-in value first.
If you're looking to replace or upgrade, check to see if a trade-in promotion is available first. Some manufacturers offer a discount off a new model if you're upgrading from an older model, and it's always worth asking. In some cases the manufacturer will then ensure the printer is refurbished, reused for parts, or recycled appropriately.
What Should I Do with My Old Printer?
If you're out of your Warranty period and you don't want to (or can't) repair your existing printer, then recycling or donating the printer is the route to consider. Anything to stop the printer going into landfill.
Recycling an ID Card Printer
Recycling ID card printers must be done in the same way you would dispose of any other electronics, by taking the outgoing printer to an electronic waste centre, where they accept electronics that can be refurbished, reused, resold, or salvaged by any means possible.
Donating it could be an option
An easy method of disposal is by donating your printer to a retailer or a charity who operate an electronic recycling program such as the WeeeCharity, who would take the card printer off your hands and leave you with your focus on purchasing your new ID card printer instead.
Reasons you might want to upgrade
For many business, they've simply outgrown the printer's capabilities. For example, a hand-fed budget card printer might have been fine to handle small card issuance a few years ago, but if your needs have changed, this level of card printer can't change with you.
Advancements in tech also mean that ID card printers coming onto the market offer far more in terms of specifications, for example digital shredding to meet GDPR requirements, or enhanced security options.
Performance and quality issues are also a common reason, particularly if the printer has been regularly churning out cards.
A telling sign of the internal rollers deterioration is the colour on your printed cards, due to the rollers no longer gripping the card tight enough as it passes through and under the printhead, leading the card to slip, resulting in poor print quality.
In the case of really old printers, you might find that they suddenly become incompatible with your PC system, or they are classed as discontinued by the manufacturer, and are therefore no longer supported.