Disposing of old and unused equipment is an opportunity to continue sustainable management practices. The first consideration is to establish if the product can be reused. Reuse has the lowest environmental impact as it extends the life of the item.
If it cannot be reused, can it be recycled? If it cannot be recycled, how can it be safely disposed of? If the product is designed for dis-assembly then it may have a new life as a different product or if it compostable it can return to the ecosystem. Electrical equipment can be recycled to reuse important rare earth metals. Paper can be recycled to make new paper.
When establishing your product selection criteria it is important to understand the product's end-of-life and any manufacturer take-back options available. There is a movement to shift responsibility for spent products and packaging to the producers who design, make and sell them. The terms "product stewardship" and "extended producer responsibility" are used describe these activities. Operational leasing enables you to return products when you’ve finished with them – a form of take-back.
If it cannot be reused or recycled, then it may not be the right product for you.
The Trends, Tools and Tips in Waste Management Page provides disposal and recycling options for a range of products.