With all appliances, there comes the time when you have to get rid of them for one reason or the other. It could be that your microwave oven is broken or just plain outdated, and you are looking to get an upgrade. The question then is how do you dispose of that microwave?
Disposing of your microwave is a bit tricky because it is considered hazardous waste. So, you have three options: donating, selling, or recycling. Recycling is the best approach because it allows the functioning components to be used in other appliances, and it protects the environment by reducing waste.
This article will show you how to dispose of your microwave oven without messing up the environment or getting into any trouble with the law.
Microwave ovens are often considered e-waste, which is another form of hazardous waste. E-waste refers to electronic products that are no longer functional or needed by their owners.
Microwave ovens contain toxic materials like mercury, cadmium, lead, beryllium, PVC plastics which eventually find their way into the groundwater. This situation leads to environmental pollution and can be harmful to the ecosystem in the long run.
Environmental sustainability is a big thing these days. More laws are being created to safeguard the environment, and offenders often have to pay huge fines or other penalties as specified by the law. So if you own a microwave oven that you no longer need, you need to know how to dispose of it without getting on the wrong side of the law.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Your Microwave (3 Options)
The way you go about disposing of your microwave oven depends on the condition of the oven. You would need to handle a broken oven differently from a functional microwave that you are simply tired of using.
You could opt for any of the following options when looking to dispose of your microwave: donations, sale, or recycling. Let’s look at each of these options.
If your microwave is still in working condition, one of the best ways to dispose of it is to donate it. That way, you would be killing two birds with a stone.
On the one hand, you get to dispose of an appliance that no longer serves you. On the other hand, you are gifting it out to someone somewhere who needs it.
There are several ways to go about this. The first would be to post an ad on sites like Craig’s List. If you are on social media, you could post a flyer on any of those platforms or on any online forum. There are also several places designed to accept stuff like your old microwave oven. We will be talking about them later on in the article.
The best part about donating your microwave is that you won’t be breaking any laws; plus, you would be helping someone in need.
Recycling an old microwave is one of the best ways to dispose of it because it doesn’t harm the environment. Those microwave parts that are still in good condition can be retrieved and used in manufacturing new products.
At the same time, the rest of the microwave is dispatched so that the environment is not polluted.
There is a caveat with recycling your microwave, though. You would have to find out what the local laws are about recycling microwaves. You’d also need to find an authorized recycling center.
You can always get this information by checking online or asking where you got your microwave at the store.
Selling your microwave oven is another great way to dispose of your old microwave. It is an excellent option if your microwave is still working well and you no longer need it. It is a win-win situation since you get to put some money in your pocket while getting rid of something that no longer serves you.
That said, you’d need to ensure that the microwave still works and isn’t making strange noises. It also needs to be presentable enough for someone to want to pay for it. Once that is settled, selling the microwave should be a breeze because there will always be someone who needs a microwave but cannot afford a brand new one.
You could get buyers from your network of friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues. If that doesn’t work, you could always go online and advertise your microwave there. There are tons of websites like OLX, Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist that cater to the sale of used items like your microwave.
As a result of the strict regulations guiding the management of hazardous wastes, it is not enough to know how to dispose of your microwave oven. You also need to know the places that are designated for the disposal of old or broken microwaves.
The good news is that there are tons of disposal centers around you. Some of these places that will take an old microwave include e-waste recyclers, retail stores, and utility companies.
So getting rid of your microwave will require only a little effort to find out where these places are and take your microwave there. Here are some of the best places to dispose of your microwave:
E-waste recyclers are the safest and most convenient option to dispose of microwaves and other electrical & electronic appliances. Some e-waste recyclers don’t pick up consumer or household appliances from residences. However, you may check for a collection center nearby.
You can initiate a swift online search to look for e-waste recyclers in your area. Alternatively, you can use this directory to find a relevant option. All the companies on the list are certified, and a few operate in more than one state. Contact an e-waste recycler and check their policies.
E-waste recyclers usually prioritize businesses, governments, and commercial establishments. However, you’ll find a few that are equally enthusiastic about picking up consumer e-waste from residences. Generally, drop-off and collection centers don’t charge anything to a consumer.
E-waste recyclers are the perfect option for archaic or broken microwaves that are beyond repair, and the appliance is unlikely to have valuable spare parts. Consider other options in this guide if you have a working end-of-life microwave or one that can be redeemed for some value.
Electronic Stores’ Programs
Electronic stores, including the big box brands, may have a program enabling you to dispose of a microwave, subject to a few conditions. Some stores may require you to purchase a new one or shop for a qualifying amount.
This option can be as convenient as an e-waste recycler. However, you may have to pay a fee if there’s no program for qualifying purchases. There are other options in this guide that won’t cost you anything to dispose of a microwave.
The Microwave Manufacturer
Many microwave manufacturers have a recycling program. You can check the owner’s manual or contact your microwave’s brand to learn about their take-back policy. You can dispose of branded microwaves to the manufacturer for no cost with a pick-up or drop-off facility.
For instance, LG has a take-back recycling program. The company takes back all end-of-life LG Electronics products through its recycling network spanning the entire country. This program is in compliance with the Extended Producer Responsibility policy in the US.
If your microwave manufacturer doesn’t have a take-back program, you may find a few instructions in the manual about how you must safely dispose of their product. Such a guide is generally helpful, but you may not find useful references to make the task convenient.
Like the manufacturers, utility companies also have take-back policies or recycling initiatives. Many utility companies work in conjunction with the local governments and municipal authorities to ensure that old electrical & electronic appliances don’t worsen the toxic e-waste problem.
Consult with your utility company to know if there’s a program enabling you to dispose of an old microwave, whether working or broken. Most utilities are taking various initiatives for smarter power consumption, so your provider may have a relevant policy that you can use for no cost.
Big box retail stores may not offer you a free microwave disposal or recycling facility. However, you may check with a few local stores to find out if you can use their e-waste recycler. You can choose a nearby retail store and drop off the microwave at their e-waste trash for safe disposal.
Reuse Electronic Shops
Local electronic shops are a practical option for two reasons. First, you can dispose of a microwave safely and without worrying about paying a fee or the compulsion of dropping it off at a distant location. Second, you can get your microwave repurposed if you desire.
End-of-life and even broken microwave ovens have more than just scrap metal. You can repurpose a functioning thermostat, capacitor, and sensors if you’re designing or making a bespoke device. A reuse electronics shop can help you to take the microwave apart safely.
Another probable benefit is disposing of a microwave for a few bucks. Reuse electronic shops may offer you a modest sum for scrap metal and other components, including the thermostat, capacitor, and sensors.
Explore online marketplaces if you don’t have reuse electronic shops nearby. Craigslist and eBay are popular choices. There are dozens of online classifieds you can explore. Here’s a list of 25 sites or apps like Craigslist.
There are a few online marketplaces or classifieds, like Recycler, that go beyond the usual buying and selling. You can barter on such platforms. Hence, you may find someone to take a microwave off your hands, and you can get something you could use in return.
Amazon.com has several programs. You may trade-in devices and recycle appliances. The program isn’t restricted to Amazon-branded products. You can also dispose of non-Amazon products, such as microwaves. Furthermore, you may even get Amazon gift cards if eligible.
One significant hurdle on online marketplaces is relative proximity. You may or may not be lucky while finding a buyer or anyone interested in barter online. Even if you find someone, the person may not be based anywhere near you. Thus, you have to factor in the shipping cost.
A garage sale is a good old-school alternative. It’s easier to sell a working microwave, even if it’s near or at the end of its life. Besides, you may succeed at selling even a broken microwave. Like the reuse electronic shops, people still look for old appliances to get spares and parts.
It depends on your location and the rules governing the disposal of microwaves in that area. The laws governing the disposal of e-wastes vary from place to place. Microwaves might be seen as hazardous waste in some cities and countries, so throwing away your microwave in a dumpster might be legal.
On the flip side, there might be a different classification for microwaves in other regions, so throwing away your microwave in a dumpster could amount to an offense.
Thankfully you can always learn about the laws surrounding the classification and disposal of microwaves in your locality. So get the necessary information ASAP to avoid breaking the law.
Microwave ovens contain specific components that can fetch a reasonable price when sold as spare parts. Some of these parts which are worth money include the transformer, capacitor, panels, heavy-duty wire, and magnetron. You could always recoup some of your investments from your broken microwave.
Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
There are several online and offline places where you could get a broken microwave. Craigslist is one of the best online places to get one. You could make inquiries at your local stores as to where you can get one.
Yes, there are lots of microwave parts that are worth selling once they are in good condition. Some of these parts include the transformer, capacitor, panels, heavy-duty wire, and magnetron.
Yes, they do. An old or broken microwave with some faulty parts will leak radiation when in use. If you are using an old microwave, stand back while it is operating. The FDA reports that microwave readings 20 inches from an oven are approximately 1/100th the reading at 2 inches.
It depends on your maintenance culture. If handled correctly, the average microwave is built to last and can serve you for at least seven years. If you use your microwave frequently for large meals, you may need to replace it within four to five years.
You shouldn’t just throw away your microwave in the trash. The reason is that microwaves contain some non-biodegradable components that can pollute the environment.
Disposing of your microwave is a necessary but tricky situation because you need to get rid of it responsibly. Some of the best ways to dispose of your oven include donating, recycling, or selling the microwave.
Each of these options depends on the condition of the microwave and what you intend to do afterward. Once you have ascertained both situations correctly, then opt for the method that works best for you.