How Do You Dispose of a Broken Microwave?

If your microwave oven has given up the ghost, it’s time to get rid of it and make room for a new one. How do you properly dispose of a microwave? This is a common question that is asked. Unless you’re an expert in microwave technology you may have questions about the safety of throwing it away in your city trash bin. Although there’s nothing there that can cause harm, some trash collectors won’t pick up a broken microwave. To give you a better idea of what to do, here is everything you need to know about disposing of a broken microwave.

Check with your local waste management company

According to Robust Kitchen, some counties allow for the pickup and disposal of microwave ovens in your regular trash. This, however, isn’t the case for all. Each municipality sets its own rules for which appliances may be deposited in collection bins. Usually smaller items are acceptable while larger ones may not always be. If your local provider is agreeable to the pickup, disposing of the microwave may be as simple as placing it in your trash receptacle for convenient pickup. If it’s not allowed, we have some other options for you to consider.

Consult with local appliance stores

Some appliance stores participate in a designated small appliance pick-up day. If you’re fortunate enough to find one that will accept microwave ovens, you can drop them off there. Some appliance stores are happy to take the broken unit off your hands, especially if they perform repairs and all reconditioned models. Often, they take the usable parts to recycle into other units for repair. It’s a good idea to check with the websites to learn more about appliance pick-up and follow up with a phone call. You don’t want to carry the microwave there to discover that they stopped offering the service.

Do microwaves contain harmful materials?

According to Hunker, microwave ovens are not made with any materials that are harmful to humans, animals, or the environment. Unless it’s a large size, most waste removal companies accept them without issue. The easiest way to get rid of a microwave is to put it in the trash. If it’s a larger size appliance, your waste management company may have rules and regulations that prohibit placing certain size items or appliances in the trash. This is why you should call or check their website first. Be aware that some trash removal companies do assess an extra charge for appliances, so you should ask if there is an additional fee. Some trash pickup businesses prefer to pickup larger or bulky items separately from other garbage. They may have scheduled pick-up days.

Call your local waste disposal plant

If none of the options above work for you, the last resort is to contact your local refuse site/landfill/waste management company. Almost all public landfill operations accept appliances of all sizes, including microwaves. There may be a special fee involved, depending on the size and weight of the microwave.

Recycling a broken microwave

If you feel a strong sense of environmental responsibility, one of the best ways to dispose of a broken microwave is to recycle it. This isn’t always possible, but if you live in an area that allows the practice, some companies specialize in the collection of e-waste, which involves anything electronic. Check with your local recycling center to find out if they can accept microwave ovens. Not all recycling centers offer this service, however. To learn more, search online to find a recycling center near you that accepts electronics and small appliances. Each e-waste company sets its own standards and regulations. Some may charge a fee while others do not.

Manufacturer take-back programs

Some manufacturers, as well as retailers, sponsor their own take-back programs. If there is one in your area that has a convenient drop-off program it might be worth your time to investigate. If the take-back program requires you to ship the microwave to them, it is likely to cost you a small fortune in shipping costs. Most microwaves are heavy and the weight alone would be too expensive to ship. Not all manufacturers or retailers offer this service, however. For example, there is a limited range of take-backs that the GE corporation offers, and microwaves are not one of them.

Repair shops

Another possible way to recycle your old microwave is to call around to local small appliance repair shops. There may be some repair shop owners who would be happy to take a broken microwave off your hands. They may be able to use the old oven for the parts to repair others. Some repairmen are skilled at reconditioning broken microwaves and reselling them for a profit in the used market.

Final thoughts

There are several different ways to dispose of a broken microwave oven. In most cases, the smaller units are the easiest to get rid of. There isn’t anything toxic or dangerous in a broken microwave oven, but the size and weight are considerations for most waste disposal companies. The easiest solution is to throw a smaller unit in the trash if your garbage pickup service has no rules against the practice. If it’s prohibited, consider asking local repair shops if they are interested in using it for repair parts. Some manufacturers and retailers offer take-back programs, while some retailers offer an appliance drop-off day as a means of convenient disposal of larger microwaves. If none of these ideas are options in the area that you live in, the last resort is to contact your local landfill/waste management company. Most landfills accept all types of appliances. Some of them even recycle these items, but they do charge a fee for taking them off your hands. Disposing of your broken microwave might seem like a hassle, and in some cases it is, but it’s far better than leaving it in a corner of the garage to collect dust.

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