How to Dispose of a Microwave Oven?

It does not matter if your microwave oven quietly expired with a sigh or went out with a crackle and pop.

It is your responsibility to dispose of it safely and properly. After all, it is essentially nothing more than a large plastic and metal carcass that is hogging up your space.

Your oven can be conveniently placed on the curb on the next trash day for pickup or, alternately, your city might require you to drop it off at a local recycling center.

It basically depends upon the local regulations prevalent in your area of residence.

An electric appliance recycling center will remove the capacitor and the magnet as well as all other recyclable parts, thus making it the perfect green solution to your microwave oven disposal problem.

Why Should You Recycle Your Microwave Oven?

This type of home appliance falls into the category of electronic waste (e-waste). There is a substantial environmental cost associated with the disposal of such waste due to which the process is heavily regulated.

In other words, you can’t just go right ahead and throw your microwave unit into the trash once you have stopped using it. Instead, you will have to select from different options to safely and ethically discard broken appliances.

These include handing the unit over to your local trash company or giving the microwave back to the department store where you purchased it in the first place.

You can also hand them over to the closest recyclizing center (if they take e-waste, that is). If the appliance is still in working condition, you can either sell it or donate it for a worthy cause, such as warming up food at a local free food kitchen.

Also read: How to Dispose of an Electric Kettle?

Disposing of the Oven at a Recycling Center

If you’re trying to dispose of your microwave oven, your best bet would be specialized recycling centers that have been created for the disposal of e-waste.

Not only do these centers recycle parts but they can also repair these old units. Once they are working fine and there is no leakage of harmful MW radiation, they will donate them to charities and other causes of a similar nature.

This is what you should do to get your oven recycled:

  • Try and call the center or check their website first to make sure that they accept microwave units
  • Find out if you will have to pay anything for recycling your microwave
  • If you have a particularly large and bulky unit, you might consider getting it picked up by the center, even if there are pick-up charges involved.
Also read: How to Dispose of Old Refrigerator?

Take Advantage of an In-Store Collection Program

Many electronic appliance outlets and department stores offer buyback programs for your old and malfunctioning microwave ovens and similar electronic items.

However, it is always a good idea to at least talk to them first, before hauling your large and heavy appliance to the center.

If you cant find their contact numbers, just drop an email to the department store chain and wait till you get an answer. Hopefully, they will solve your problem on the spot.

Check-Up on Store Incentives Before Purchase

Many home improvement and other types of retail outlets that deal in electronic appliances will swap your old unit for a new one.

They will recycle your old items and proceed to sell them or dispose of them, provided that you purchase a fresh microwave from them.

If you are in the market for a new unit, you might consider checking this option from the stores in your neighborhood. Even if they are not offering this deal, you can always ask around from other stores as well.

Alternately, you can simply store your old microwave oven till you find a store that is willing to swap it for a new one.

Check With the Manufacturer of the Unit

Sometimes, the brand that you buy is also conscious of the impact of its products on the environment, which is why they might be willing to take back the old and used microwave unit.

Many manufacturers of consumer appliances offer similar programs to help out their customers dispose of their used products safely.

You should check their corporate website or call their customer service helpline to see if this is an option that is available for their customers.

Here, it is important to note that it is very likely that you will have to pay the shipping and handling costs and charges upfront before you are able to return the item.

However, this is a very small price to pay for doing your bit and taking care of the environment for the coming generations.

How to Throw Away a Malfunctioning Unit

If you are not interested in the above-mentioned recycling options, you might consider disposing of the microwave in the trash. However, simply dumping the unit in the trash-can might not work and the local garbage collector could be reluctant to pick up the unit.

This is why you should contact your local trash company beforehand and ask them if they take old and environmentally hazardous materials.

Microwave units are nonbiodegradable and they cannot be disposed of through fire either, which is why many landfill sites are not interested in picking them.

That said, there do exist other trash service providers that offer their own service to both pick-ups and subsequently dispose of bulky electronic junk. Furthermore, a few trash disposal services also offer free removal of trash but with certain terms and conditions.

For example, you may only be allowed to have a limited number of bulky items to be picked up every month or there may be a certain size and weight limitations.

In case this service is available in your area, you might not be able to dispose of the unit the regular way but set it aside, after informing the collection service to take it away.

In case the company charges a hefty amount for safe disposal, you might consider dropping your microwave oven at your local garbage disposal center in order to avoid this fee.

It will be a bit of a hassle, but you will be able to save a few hard earning bucks.

Find out About Cleanup Day Events in Your Area

Sometimes, the usual trash disposal service providers don’t offer safe removal of electronic waste on a day-to-day basis because of the logistical problems incurred while removing them along with regular waste items.

It is possible to get around this issue by holding periodic e-waste disposal events to make it easy for the respective community members to dispose of their hazardous e-waste.

This is a convenient solution for both the consumers and the waste disposal company.

Such events might be held twice a year, or they can be quarterly or even monthly events. The total number of events per annum depends upon the size of the community and how much e-waste the community produces.

Check out the date, the time, as well as the location of the next event, and simply drop the unit off at the allocated time.

Reusing a Functional Microwave

If your unit is in working condition and you just got bored with it or would like to upgrade to a bigger and more advanced unit, you should sell it so that it can be reused.

If you look around, you will be able to find many people who want a microwave oven but can’t afford to get a new one. You can either sell it amongst your friends and family circle or online via Craigslist, eBay or any other option.

Best of all, you will be able to use the money you get to add to the amount you have already and purchase a state-of-the-art unit.

Also read: Are Old Microwaves Safe to Use? 

Get It Repaired If It Is Not Working Properly

Take your microwave to an appliance repair shop if it’s in bad condition or even if it is just dirty and scratched around due to regular use. You should especially do this for a unit that’s functional but ugly because of prolonged usage.

Many used home appliance shops can pay good money for such units. They will clean, refurbish, and, if required, repaint the unit and resell it for a profit. Alternately, they might cannibalize it for spare parts for other units.

Once you have sold them your microwave, it is now their responsibility to make sure that it is safely and effectively disposed of so that it does not cause any harm to the environment.

This way, you not only get rid of your unit but also make some money in the process.

Read the Instruction Manual Thoroughly

Finally, there is also a chance that the unit is not broken at all. You should read the manual that came with the unit with special regard to the troubleshooting section.

These instruction manuals almost always have detailed steps to deal with the most common situations.


The above steps can help you to not only dispose of your old microwave but also ensure that it does not have any adverse impact on the environment.

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