How to dispose of old microwaves

Updated February 21, 2017

When your old household appliances no longer operate correctly, you have a few options when it comes to disposing of them. You could just throw them into the trash with the rest of your garbage; however, many cities and counties do not allow items like microwaves to be disposed of with regular trash. Furthermore, this is not the responsible way to dispose of an old microwave. Many of its parts and components can be broken down and reused, which makes recycling the most responsible and logical disposal method.

Contact your local recycling centre to find out if they accept microwaves. You can find contact information for local recycling centres by using online resources such as Earth 911.

Contact scrap metal recyclers if your local recycling centre does not accept microwaves. Online resources can also be used to locate scrap metal recyclers.

Talk with local electronics stores and department stores that sell appliances like microwaves if you cannot find someone to recycle it. Some of these retail locations have programs in place to properly recycle and dispose of the components of old microwaves.

Remove the capacitor in your old microwave if you're taking it to a scrap metal recycler. These are potentially hazardous materials and cannot be brought in with the microwave. Leave your microwave unplugged for 12 to 24 hours. Then remove the outside cover and remove the capacitor. You can ensure there's no charge by touching the capacitor terminals together using an insulated screwdriver.

Transport your microwave to the recycling centre, scrap metal recycler or retail location that will accept it. If the capacitor you removed says "No PCBs," then you can bring it with you to be recycled.

Dispose of the microwave capacitor if it did not say "No PCBS." This means that it is made of hazardous material and needs to be disposed of by bringing it to your local hazardous waste facility. Contact your city or county government for contact information.

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About the Author

J. Johnson has been completing freelance writing work since September 2009. Her work includes writing website content and small client projects. Johnson holds a degree in English from North Carolina State University.