Old Microwave Disposal: Your 6 Options

Microwaves have become an essential appliance in most households, thanks to their convenience and versatility. I know I couldn’t hope to keep my family fed without mine!

Like any other appliance though, they have a limited lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. 

When that time comes, it’s important to dispose of your old microwave properly to minimize any negative impact on the environment and human health. 

Microwaves contain hazardous materials, such as heavy metals and chemicals, that can be harmful if not managed responsibly. So, you can’t just throw them out with the rest of your trash!

In this article, I’ll outline several options you have for disposing of an old microwave, and I’ll detail the steps you need to follow for each method.

#1 Recycling Programs

One of the best ways to dispose of an old microwave is to recycle it. Many communities have recycling programs in place that accept electronic waste (e-waste), which includes microwaves.

Recycling your microwave ensures that the valuable materials it contains, like metals and plastics, can be reclaimed and reused, reducing the need for virgin materials.

Steps to recycle your microwave:

  • Check your local recycling guidelines: Visit your local municipality’s website or contact your waste management provider to find out if they accept microwaves for recycling.
  • Remove any accessories: Before recycling your microwave, remove any removable parts, such as the glass turntable and its support.
  • Find a recycling center: If your curbside recycling program doesn’t accept microwaves, locate a nearby recycling center that does.
  • Transport your microwave: Carefully transport your microwave to the designated recycling facility, making sure to handle it safely to avoid any damage.

#2 Retailer Take-Back Programs

Some retailers offer take-back programs for old appliances, including microwaves. 

This service allows you to return your old microwave to the store where you purchased it, or another participating retailer, for proper disposal.

Steps for using a retailer take-back program:

  • Research retailer programs: Contact the retailer where you purchased your microwave, or check the websites of major electronics retailers in your area, to determine if they have a take-back program for microwaves.
  • Prepare your microwave: Remove any accessories, such as the glass turntable and its support, before returning your microwave.
  • Bring your microwave to the store: Transport your old microwave to the participating retailer, following any specific guidelines they may have for drop-off.

#3 Sell it

If you’re microwave is still perfectly usable but you just want to upgrade it, there’s always the options of selling it online. That way you’ll get a little extra cash towards your new purchase.

Unless you’re selling locally, shipping costs can really add up here. Make sure the sums add up in your favour before committing to anything!

Steps to selling your old microwave:

  • Decide where you want to list it: Consider places like Ebay, local Facebook groups, or even a local yard sale group if you want to sell the appliance offline.
  • Follow the listing guide: List your item, make sure you’ve covered off important extras like shipping costs, and wait for your lucky buyer!

A pile of wreckage at a landfill recycling center.

#4 Donate it!

If your microwave is still in good working condition but you no longer need it, consider donating it to a local charity, school, or community center instead.

This option gives your microwave a second life and helps someone else in need.

Steps to donating your microwave:

  • Clean your microwave: Thoroughly clean the microwave, both inside and out, to ensure it’s in the best possible condition for donation.
  • Find a donation center: Contact local charities, schools, or community centers to see if they accept microwaves as donations. Not everyone can perform electrical safety testing, so you might need to call a few places before you get a taker!
  • Deliver your microwave: Carefully transport your microwave to the donation center, making sure to handle it safely to avoid any damage.

#5 Repair Shops

If you’ve got a local repair shop for kitchen appliances, give them a call. There may be elements inside your branded microwave that will be very useful for them.

Alternatively, they might like to repair your microwave if it’s broken, and then sell it on as a second-hand appliance.

Steps to sell to a repair shop:

Research your options: Check the Yellow Pages and online for local repair shops that specialise in kitchen equipment.

Call first: To avoid a wasted trip, give them a call or send them an email first. Make sure you know both the brand and the model of your old microwave so they can make a quick decision.

#6 Waste Management

If none of the above options are feasible, you may need to dispose of your microwave through your local waste management provider.

It’s important to follow the proper guidelines to ensure your microwave is disposed of safely and responsibly.

Steps to dispose of your microwave through waste management:

  • Check your local waste disposal guidelines: Visit your local municipality’s website or contact your waste management provider to find out the proper procedure for disposing of an old microwave.
  • Schedule a pick-up or drop-off: Book and time for collection or drop-off of your old microwave, depending on the procedure you’re asked to follow.
  • Prepare your microwave: Make sure you’ve followed the waste management’s company’s procedures to the letter. You don’t want the pick-up to be canceled because you forgot a detail!

Wrapping Up

There’s always a way to dispose of an old microwave responsibly, and those six options should give you plenty of inspiration!