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Because You Asked

How Do I Recycle A Microwave?

By Recyclebank |

It’s not as easy as using one, but it is possible.

Dear Recyclebank: Today I recycled 2 DVRs. However, I could not convince them to take a microwave. Please help! I have tried 5 places to have it repaired. Where oh where does a dead microwave go? –Sharon M.

Dear Sharon: A microwave that still works can easily be sold or donated, but one that’s broken beyond repair is harder to get rid of. Microwave ovens don’t actually contain radioactive material like some people believe, as the non-ionizing radiation they use to cook food is generated by a component called a magnetron that agitates electrons drawn from a heated filament. However, they do have electrical components such as a capacitor that can be dangerous to handle.

As with most appliances, curbside recycling programs generally will not collect them, and as you found out, it can be hard to find other options as well — but given how many useful materials microwave ovens contain, it’s worth the effort to continue the search. Here are a few ideas:

  • If it’s a matter of one specific missing or broken part, try the repair route again. Check with the manufacturer about replacement parts, or check online with companies like PartSelect for a new part.
  • If a local appliance repair shop can’t fix your microwave, circle back to ask if they’d take it off your hands — they might be able to disassemble it for parts.
  • Double-check your local e-waste collection facilities to see if they’ll take microwaves. has a great general e-cycling finder.
  • Check dedicated appliance recyclers; they often accept microwaves. Earth911 has a search function that can help you locate one near you.
  • Check with the manufacturer to see if they’ll take back their microwaves for responsible disposal. For example, the popular microwave brand Hamilton Beach will accept any nonfunctioning Hamilton Beach product for proper disposal.

With some investigation into these options, there’s still hope that you’ll be able to find new life for your dead microwave.

Scientific American
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission



Have you had success recycling or repurposing a microwave oven? Let us know in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Randy F. 4 months ago
    C-Virus Recycling In store Update: Guess who's microwave Just Died?
    . . . oooOooOoohhh Spooky Coincidental! Anywho, Best Buy & Staples are currently refusing donations due to "Safety Concerns". So curbside displaying may be the ONLY Recycling option for the time being.
    Deep storage is another option.
  • tommy b. 4 months ago
  • tommy b. 4 months ago
  • Barbara W. 4 months ago
    If the microwave is not working order be sure to cut the cord off so it will not endanger anyone, then place it on the curb. Here people will come by and haul it off because they can sell the parts. I have gone thru several, its gone from the curb in only a few days!
  • Joseph B. 4 months ago
    With the planned obsolescence and inability to get replacement parts, manufacturers have made it nearly impossible to repair appliances.
    • Barbara W. 4 months ago
      True . a throw-away society
    • Randy F. 4 months ago
      Disposable Things: In the "old days" you could have your car manufacturer put a small headight / signal bulb in or go to a supply store and do it yourself. A relative needed a bulb change recently but the greedy car company now has a new metal gasket monstrosity that has a bulb soldered into it and therefore you HAVE to buy the whole contraption / their parts and have this huge eXtra bracket landfilled each change!

      You DO get to keep your car, however. I guess that's something!
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