Can Microwaves Be Recycled? (The Do’s, Don’ts, and Legalities!)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 90% of homes have microwaves in them. That means that there are approximately 140 million microwaves used in the US.
You can use a microwave to make all kinds of food and perform various functions, but what do you do with it when you’re done?
In this article, we’re going to talk about exactly what you can do when your microwave reaches that end-of-life period.
Can you recycle a microwave?
It’s not always easy to know how to recycle something, and microwaves are no exception. The most difficult part about recycling a microwave is finding a recycling center that will accept the appliance. Microwaves are complex appliances made of various materials like metal and plastic, which require specific processing to separate all the pieces.
Although microwaves cannot be recycled in every city, there are some instances where it is possible. If a microwave has been broken or is no longer functioning, it can be recycled at designated centers. However, if the microwave still works, it should not be recycled but instead be donated to a local charity or sold.
There are a lot of options for getting rid of your old microwave without hurting yourself or the environment. You can recycle it in some instances, such as when it’s broken or beyond repair. However, it’s not always easy to recycle a microwave. Some recycling centers may not accept microwaves, so it’s best to check with your local facility before you try to recycle it. It’s also possible to repair a broken microwave, but you should be careful if you’re inexperienced, as some items may be too dangerous for you to handle without causing damage or injury.
Can you throw a microwave in the dumpster?
It’s illegal to toss microwaves in the dumpster in some cities and counties, so it’s important to check with your local government website for specific guidelines. Guidelines may not specifically cover microwaves, depending on where you live.
Other than throwing it out, there are a number of alternatives to consider if you’re getting rid of an old microwave. You can donate it, find a new use for it, or recycle it.
Different municipalities have different laws on how to dispose of home appliances. In some cases, microwaves can be recycled in the usual fashion, while in others they must be disposed of as electronic waste.
Donating or recycling your old microwave is better for the environment, and it’s legal everywhere. Don’t put a microwave in the dumpster and avoid landfills–about 53.6 million tons of electronic waste were added to global landfills in 2019 alone!
There are a lot of different ways to get rid of an old microwave, and the best way to find out is to check with your local city or municipality. Some places have laws about how to dispose of home appliances, and your city’s website will provide instructions on how to recycle your old microwave and other electronics.
Can you throw a microwave into a fire?
A microwave doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you can just throw in the trash, but there are multiple ways to get rid of it if it’s no longer working or if you just want to upgrade your kitchen appliances. Burning or incinerating a microwave is not an option, as they contain metals that can release toxins into the air.
Where can you dispose of a microwave?
There are a few different ways to dispose of a microwave. If you’re replacing your old, inefficient appliance with something newer, sometimes the utility company might come and take it away for free. Some manufacturers will pay shipping costs to send your old unit back for recycling.
If you’re not able to use a dumpster according to the laws in your region, the most common ways to dispose of a microwave are at thrift stores, electronics repair shops, or by a certified electronic recycling factory. Most second-hand stores donate some of their proceeds to charities. Most cities will have a specific bin for appliances or e-waste.
Check with your local stores to see if they take and recycle microwaves.
Is there a fee for disposing of a microwave?
There is no fee for disposing of a microwave. You can save the removable parts from a non-working microwave and sell them on eBay or repurpose them. The disposal of a microwave should be done in a safe and environmentally responsible way.
If you call your local landfill or garbage center, you can ask them for options on how to dispose of your microwave oven. In many cases, they will even know if there is a fee involved in each situation. In many cases, if you’re thinking about bringing your old microwave oven into a landfill, then there’s probably not going to be a fee for disposal.
However, if you’d rather not make the trip to the landfill and have someone come and pick it up for you, there will be a service charge. This will also likely be from a third-party company that specializes in the disposal of electronic units. I don’t really recommend this because if you’re just throwing away a single microwave, it could cost you a lot for something so little.
Full-service junk removal has been known to cost anywhere from $100 to $800 per load.
Do stores accept old microwaves?
It’s easy to find a store that will take your old microwave for recycling. All you have to do is look up the number of the nearest recycling center and give them a call. The final disposal of an old microwave varies depending on the store, but can include taking apart and recycling parts, proper disposal, and sometimes even donating to charity.
The best strategy is to call the retailer first and confirm that they have a drop-off program for microwaves. You should also ask about any fees associated with dropping off the appliance.
You can put your microwave up for sale
If you have an old microwave and you are upgrading or have simply gotten a new unit and no longer need the old one, you can always sell the microwave. Most microwaves work for years, so if you have one that still works, you can certainly sell it. Even if it does not work, some rare or very expensive models can still be sold.
Can you sell any microwave parts?
Another option is to take your old microwave and try to sell it for parts. Some appliance stores will actually buy your old microwave so that they can part it out to work on the appliances that they sell or the repair calls that they make. If you are feeling up to it, and if you can take the microwave apart successfully and safely, you can also sell these parts yourself. You can always look for parts that would be easy to ship as well and try to sell them online. Selling an entire microwave in one piece is not practical, but you can take it apart and get some good money for smaller pieces that other people may be looking for to repair their own microwaves.
Is it safe to take an old microwave apart?
Taking a microwave apart does have some significant dangers. That being said, if you are careful and mindful of what you are doing, you can take a microwave apart without much issue. The main danger is the magnetron that actually makes the microwaves that heat the food. This magnetron has ceramic insulators that may contain a very hazardous chemical called beryllium oxide. If you inhale this substance or it gets into your lungs, it can be fatal. If you are taking an old microwave apart, make sure you are not taking apart the magnetron.
Is there any valuable components inside a microwave?
Not all microwaves contain a ton of super valuable parts that are going to make you a great deal of money if you part them out. Microwaves do, however, contain valuable metals that can be scrapped. Most microwaves contain metals like copper, which are very valuable.
If you have an old microwave and you are looking to make some money off of it, you can make a great deal more if you take the metal parts out of the microwave and scrap just the metal than if you were to try to scrap the machine as a whole.
When you are scrapping something like a microwave, the price that you are going to be offered is going to be related to the amount of precious metal inside and the amount of effort that the person or recycling center is going to have to go through to retrieve that metal. This means that they are going to give you less money if they have to take the microwave apart than they would if you collect the metal yourself.
Can you repurpose a microwave?
You may also be able to repurpose your microwave. They are a good option for play kitchens for children if they do not work, and they can also be used as a makeshift storage area if you really need it.
You can donate your microwave
If you have a microwave that is still working, you can also consider donating it. This is a great way to get rid of an old machine and do some good at the same time. You can donate most working appliances to your local donation centers. You do not want to donate if your microwave is not working. You can donate at some centers like Goodwill and get a tax receipt that you can then use for tax write-offs and get some credit on your taxes. You may also call around to local shelters, nursing homes, and even schools to see if they are in need of a microwave oven and see where your donation is going to be best used and have the most impact.
You can leave your microwave in front of your house and someone will take it
Now, I’ve done this several times. Leaving your old electronic junk out in your front yard is an easy way to get rid of it. It’s perhaps the easiest way to get rid of any appliance you have in your house. As long as the appliance is still looking good and all the pieces are there, then someone who drives by will pick it up as soon as it’s junk and about to be thrown away.
It’s true what they say; one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. These are people who usually grab things from the side of the road, take them home, fix them up, and sell them back to someone else for a profit.
Should you destroy your microwave before throwing it away?
If you are getting rid of a microwave, there is no need to destroy it before you throw it out. Rather, it is more important to take the time to figure out where the proper place for disposal is.
Instead of just putting it out for trash collection, see if you can take it to the local recycling center, or see if you need to take special precautions to dispose of it at the local dump. It is always best to ensure that you are disposing of anything properly, especially those items that have harmful chemicals like a microwave.
This is so that you can not only get rid of it safely for you, but also for anyone else that might come into contact with it at any time. It does not take long to find out where the best place to dispose of an old microwave is, and it can save you a great deal of time and hassle as well.
Can microwaves simply be thrown in the trash?
While microwaves are a convenience, they also produce a lot of waste. And this isn’t just any type of waste. Microwaves are classified as e-waste and should be disposed of at designated facilities. Simply tossing them in the trash will result in landfills causing pollution, as more than 3/4 of the waste produced in the US is dumped into landfills.
Methane gas contaminates drinking water when it leaks from landfills, making this option an even worse choice for disposal. So what’s the alternative? The majority of garbage discarded by homes and businesses ends up in a landfill or incinerator.
The EPA provides statistics on the waste that goes to landfills across the United States every year. In 2018, only 49.997% of trash was recycled nationwide . However, this number has been steadily increasing for decades, so there is hope for improvement.
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