Disposing of a microwave is more difficult than it appears. It’s understandable if your initial reaction is to dump it in the garbage. However, in some instances, this can result in fines.
It’s critical to properly dispose of your old microwave. While it is unlawful to toss microwaves away in many jurisdictions, there are a number of viable options for disposing of microwaves.
How Can I Get Rid of My Microwave?
There are many ways you can get rid of your microwave. Before you trash your microwave, it’s vital to consider environmentally friendly options. This includes thrift stores, recycling centers, utility companies, or even selling it. Here are all of your choices for safely and legally disposing of your microwave.
1. Understand the Laws and Regulations Governing the Disposal of Microwaves in Your State
Check the rules and regulations in your state before deciding how to get rid of an old microwave. These appliances are frequently categorized as electronic waste (e-waste), and because of that, they cannot be thrown out with the garbage or thrown into a dumpster. You can find out if there are any clear requirements for microwave disposal by consulting local legislation.
If you can’t get the required information regarding microwave disposal in your area, you could choose to contact a county or city representative. They should be able to tell you what you need to know or point you in the right direction.
2. Donate an Old but Functional Microwave
If you’re not sure of how to do away with an old microwave that’s still functional, try donating it. This will not only keep it out of the garbage, but it will also provide someone with a functional appliance that they otherwise would not have been able to purchase.
Microwaves in good working order are accepted by some local charities. You’ll probably have to deliver the microwave to the facility of the organization, although you might be able to arrange a pickup in some situations. Additionally, you can contact family and friends to see if anyone you know needs a microwave.
3. Sell a Working Microwave Online
Rather than trying to sell completely functional and in good condition microwave ovens, you might consider selling your equipment online. Local yard sale groups and other online platforms make it easy to find people who might be interested in buying.
Selling your microwave online will give you some extra income that you can use to buy a new microwave, buy other household necessities, or put into your savings for a rainy day.
4. Take it to an Appliance Repair Store
Search for appliance repair shops in your area that will take your microwave away from you. They’ll either fix it and resell it, or they’ll use it as a source of parts for other microwaves. This strategy involves a few telephone calls and some research.
If your microwave still has some life remaining in it, microwave disposal is a lot easier. Clean the appliance properly before donating it to Goodwill or any similar thrift store. Alternatively, give it to a college-bound kid, or advertise it on Craigslist or Freecycle. While getting rid of your unwanted microwave, you will be doing a good deed at the same time.
5. Utilize Take-Back Programs by Manufacturers and Retailers
The maker of your microwave may provide a return program to assist consumers in recycling their devices. Hamilton Beach is one microwave manufacturer providing such a scheme, but there’s a caveat: you’ll have to send the appliance to them.
Because microwaves are often hefty items, recycling your oven this way may be prohibitively expensive. Other manufacturers, such as LG, offer both drop-off locations and mail-in services.
Microwaves, on the other hand, are occasionally omitted from manufacturer recycling schemes. GE, for instance, does not recycle microwave ovens,
There are also retailer take-back programs where popular retailers collect electronic junk. Before you go, make sure to call the retailer to see if they collect microwaves for recycling.
6. Take It to a Recycling Center for E-Waste.
It is an environmentally sound alternative to take your old microwave to an e-waste recycling center. Microwave ovens aren’t just discarded at e-waste recycling centers; they’re dismantled to remove any components that can be reused.
While some appliances sent to recycling centers are shipped to countries where they cannot be securely refurbished, e-waste recycling centers take the necessary procedures to recycle and dispose of outdated electronic components safely.
If you don’t know where your nearest e-waste recycling center is, a fast online search will reveal neighboring locations. You may well be able to book a pick up appointment with some e-waste recyclers.
7. Return it to a Retailer that Accepts Used Appliances.
You can also look for a store that collects microwaves and other electronics for reuse or recycling in your area. Some companies, particularly electronics retailers, will accept obsolete appliances in exchange for the more valuable metals present in their circuits. It is more likely that an electronic retailer will accept your microwave if it is a recent model. These businesses will be interested in newer microwaves because they have more electrical components.
8. Check with your Utility Company to see whether You May Recycle Old Inefficient Appliances.
As a last resort, see if your utility company will accept your old microwave. Some utility companies offer appliance pickup services to assist clients in getting rid of faulty appliances and getting more energy-efficient versions.
Check with your local utility company to see whether similar programs are available. If they do have an appliance recycling program, the agent you speak with can help you figure out how to get your old microwave turned in. Several utility companies will offer cash incentives or lower bills if you get rid of old appliances and replace them with ones that use less energy.
9. Drop It Off At Your Local Landfill Or Garbage Center
You can drop off your microwave yourself if you still want to give it “back to the Earth.”
Inquire about how to legally get rid of the microwave at your dump site or waste facility. Small appliances and electronics are normally disposed of in specific dumpsters or bins. You might avoid paying a fee for the pickup service if you do it this way.
Nonetheless, it is always preferable to avoid disposing of your microwave in a landfill. Your microwave, hazardous trash or not, will take thousands of years to degrade. You can always use the other options to dispose of trash that isn’t harmful to the environment.
Is Repairing a Broken Microwave Safe?
Only a trained electrician should attempt to repair a faulty microwave.
Although the microwave has changed the way we prepare meals, it is among the most complex and dangerous home equipment to fix.
First and foremost, microwaves are little appliances with everything packed tightly inside. So, if you need to fix a microwave, you’ll almost always have to take it apart and put it back together again.
The high voltage capacitor should be your primary worry. Even months after use, it can maintain a strong electrical charge. So, whatever you do, make sure to safely drain the microwave capacitor first.
On the other hand, you might hire an expert to repair your microwave. This is especially true if the damage is aesthetic rather than electrical. A damaged plate rotating assembly or a malfunctioning door hinge are quite simple to fix but should not cost a lot of money.
But what if the oven’s magnetic coil or control panel needs to be replaced?
In this situation, sending it to a microwave recycling center makes more sense than paying for the repair. For instance, replacement parts for many lower-cost microwave manufacturers are frequently more expensive than the entire unit.
Is It Safe to Take a Microwave Apart?
Dismantling a microwave is not a good idea for a variety of reasons.
To begin with, your microwave is a high-voltage device, and you should never attempt to disassemble it while it is plugged in. The secondary coil of the power transformer may produce up to 4200 volts, and there is also a large high-voltage capacitor. Even months after you disconnect the oven, this bad boy can give a lethal discharge shock.
Finally, the magnetron generates microwaves, which heat your food. It’s a form of a vacuum tube with extremely strong magnets.
There’s nothing harmful about them, but you’ll have to remove a huge ceramic insulator to get at them. This insulator is made of a type of ceramic called beryllium oxide, which is dangerous to breathe in.
How is a Microwave Oven Recycled?
- After you’ve delivered it to your nearest recycling center, it’ll be shattered and crushed down into pieces in a hammer mill.
- The fragments are sorted by ferrous and non-ferrous materials on a conveyor belt. Because ferrous metals are magnetic, they can be easily separated. A vacuum will also suck any light material, such as dirt, from the particles.
- Some parts have both ferrous and non-ferrous parts, which are collected by hand at picking stations during the recycling process.
- Any batteries are removed, and any material that can be gathered is forwarded to experts. The plastic will be refined further by a specialist business, while the metals will be sent to smelters.