If your stapler has come to the end of its usefulness—broken, missing parts, or just obsolete—you may be wondering if you can recycle it. The answer is probably yes, but you have to pay attention to the type of stapler you want to recycle. Your concern for the environment and sustainability will come to nothing if you go about recycling your stapler the wrong way.
Determine What Materials Your Stapler Includes
Staplers contain metal, and some contain plastic parts. Contact your local solid waste agency and find out whether they accept what’s in your stapler. That includes the metal staples inside. Although a single staple seems like a tiny thing, the compounded effect of thousands of offices using staples means tons of metal eventually ends up in landfills, as metal staples don’t break down. In addition to what’s in your stapler, consider the staples that come into your office via deliveries and packaging. Instead of just throwing away the used staples you remove from cartons or documents, save the used ones in a jar or box and when it’s full, take it to a metal recycler.
Manual vs. Electric Staplers
Manual staplers might have plastic and metal parts, but they don’t have electronics. Electric staplers pose additional questions about whether they are recyclable. Again, contact your waste hauler or local solid waste agency to find out if they will accept an electric stapler. Some office supply companies will recycle electronics, but call first to find out if they’ll take, for example, an electric stapler or an electric staple nail gun. Some scrapyards take items that waste haulers won’t, because the scrapyard can take things apart and salvage metal components and copper wires. Find a local scrapyard and ask if they take electric staplers.
Unless they’re badly abused, staplers last a long time. The more immediate concern is the staples that end up in the trash or flung all over the copy room floor. Gather them up and recycle that metal—a scrapyard might even pay you for it. If your stapler is truly defunct, recycle it. If you can’t find a way to recycle your stapler, repurpose it as a paperweight or hop online and find an office machine collector who covets your particular model, working or not. If you’re artistically inclined, you could even use parts of your stapler in a mixed-media work.