Finding the right home for that old radiation box can seem like a daunting task, especially when you're trying to do it ethically. Thankfully, there are several simple ways to get rid of your microwave quickly and successfully (you might even make a little money).
We've broken it down into 3 simple options:
Donate it, Sell it, or Recycle it.
The challenge of recycling your old microwave will depend heavily on where you live, but we've included helpful links to get you on the path to finding the right facility.
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1) Donate Your Microwave
The best and most ecological way to dispose of an old microwave (that's still functioning) is to donate it to a local school, church, shelter, non-profit organization or thrift store.
There's no better way to get rid of something than to give it to someone who truly needs it.
Post a query on your local Facebook group or Craigslist and include the tag "free." We're confident your inbox will fill up quickly. You can also ask around at your local community centers. If the volunteers don't take the microwave, they'll usually point you in the direction of someone who will. We always recommend donating before recycling, especially when the item still has some good years left.
Places that take Appliance Donations:
3) GE Appliance Donation Centers
2) Sell Your Microwave
If you feel like making a bit of cash on your old-but-still-functioning microwave, there are plenty of people looking for the right deal. Obviously turn to your friends first. If selling amongst colleagues doesn't work, head to the internet and post your appliance on one of the many websites that specialize in selling electronics.
You can also take the common Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon route. If you've never sold anything online, there are plenty of tutorials.
DIY Scrap Your Microwave
If you're really interested in getting the biggest bang for your buck, you can personally scrap your old microwave and sell certain parts for money.
Here is a youtube video showing how to do this. You will need a classic electric drill to remove screws, and possibly a hammer to help get inside to the goods.
When scrapping out a microwave, you should consider selling the reusable parts. That's why you're doing this manual labor, right? Things like panels and the rotating glass tray could earn you upwards of $20 on eBay or other sites.
***In the video the man is not wearing safety goggles, but we highly recommend doing so!
3) Recycle Your Microwave
In the unfortunate case that your microwave has kicked the dust, the most ecological thing you can do is recycle it. Now, there is the question of, "how exactly do I do that?"
There are a few options.
It all comes down to where you live and what the appliance disposal rules are in your area. Even if your county allows microwave waste to be thrown in the trash, if you care about the wellbeing of the world's delicate ecosystem, we recommend recycling it. Take the right steps to dispose of your microwave responsibly.
- You can check your local appliance stores; they will often take the broken microwave and use the parts, or repair it and sell it.
- In some places, there will be a designated "appliance pick-up" day. Get in touch with your local waste management company and see if they offer such a program.
- In certain cities, you might receive an appliance pick-up notice in your monthly bill, or as a coupon in the post stating specific dates of pick-ups.
- You can also find out where your local special waste drop-off is located, call ahead, and drop it there for proper recycling. We highly recommend calling ahead of time. Only certain facilities have the proper recycling programs.
- Certain large conglomerate stores like Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples sometimes take appliances to recycle them. Make sure and call the store before making the trip. Each store will have its own policy.
- Check your local stores, as drop-off events tend to happen sporadically. Be aware, there may be a charge, and certain stores might only accept certain microwave brands.
- In certain areas, you may need to show ID and proof of residency before dropping off at an appliance recycling center.
- A recycling center will ultimately remove the capacitor and other recyclable parts, making it the greenest way to get rid of your microwave.
- GreenGadgets.org, Earth911 or 1-800-GOTJUNK are great resources to help you find local, dedicated appliance recyclers.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Leave a Microwave on the Curb for Garbage Pick-Up?
Depending on the rules of your local county, yes, you can. Garbage companies often have appliance pick-up days. You will get a notice in the mail, or you can check online.
If you do not know of a legitimate pick-up day, you can leave your old microwave out on the curb for a few days to see if someone will pick it up, but be aware, in certain places this is considered illegal.
Can I Sell a Microwave for Parts?
Sure! Lots of appliance shops will purchase your used microwaves for parts (most-likely for a low price), but it's better than nothing! Check your local electronic stores.
You can also attempt to sell a broken microwave online to an independent buyer for parts (always be completely transparent about its condition).
If you scrap your old microwave, definitely try selling the worthwhile pieces online, or taking them to a scrap metal recycling business (you will most likely make around $20 or less).
We hope this article was helpful in getting your old microwave to the right location. No one wants a big piece of metal taking up precious space. It's always more ethical to recycle or reuse when we can. It's the least we can do for our one and only Mother Earth.
Please feel free to comment with any further questions or comments regarding recycling microwaves.
Thank you for sharing this insightful article.
I didn't know that there is metal in microwaves that you can't throw away. I need to get a recycler to take my microwave. I can't dispose of it myself.
As someone who has worked at Staples we do not recycle microwaves. We only do tech appliances. Maybe some locations do, but at my store we didn’t take microwaves, TV’s, DVD players, etc.
Hey Random Guy 🙂
Thanks for letting us know. I’ve updated the post to let those know to call first before making the trip.
If you have any other suggestions, please let us know!
All the best to you,
Thanks for letting me know that there are certain cities that encourage appliance pick-up services. Aside from our microwave, we also think it's time to dispose of our old refrigerator to free some space in the basement. I would have to check with my neighbors and see if there are local waste management companies that offer this service.