Your microwave just died. Microwave disposal is tricky because it is considered e-waste and cannot be disposed of with either normal trash or other recyclables. How can you dispose of it safely and in accordance with California law? Here are five methods to dispose of your old microwave
1 — Recycling Method 1: e-Waste Recyclers
Recycling your microwave with an e-waste recycler is your best bet. These firms will often pick up e-waste from commercial customers. If there are no e-waste recyclers in your area who do pickups, you can call to find their nearest drop-off location.
2 — Recycling Method 2: Other Recycling Services
Your regular garbage collector may have e-waste drop-off locations that are not publicized. Contact your trash pickup service for more information. Similarly, local recyclers may also have e-waste drop-off locations where you can dispose of your microwave safely.
Many communities hold cleanup days that allow residents to drop off their e-waste during a specific period. These could be as frequent as money events to annual events. Some events last just a weekend; others can last for a month or more. Be on the lookout for these events. They are often publicized in smaller newspapers or on community websites. You can also call your city or county government to see if they offer any nearby household hazardous waste disposal events.
3 — Manufacturer Take-Back Programs or Incentives
Contact the microwave's manufacturer to inquire about a take-back program. Some manufacturers will take your broken microwave and reuse some of its parts to manufacture new microwaves. That is true recycling!
If you are purchasing a new microwave, ask the retailer if they offer a "trade-in" incentive for your old microwave. This method is a real win/win scenario but can be challenging to find.
4 — Retail Drop-offs
Some big-box retailers have e-waste drop-off boxes in the front of their stores. Before availing yourself of this option, be sure to call the store first to confirm that they will accept microwaves as part of their drop-off program. Some retailers only accept small e-waste like cords, cellphones, tablets, etc. and do not take larger items like a microwave.
5 — Reuse: Appliance Repair Shops
Look for appliance repair facilities in your neighborhood who will take the microwave off of your hands. They will either repair it and sell it, or use it for parts in the repair of other microwaves. This method requires a few phone calls and a little legwork.
If there is still a little life left in your microwave, microwave disposal is easier. Clean the appliance thoroughly and drop it off at your local Goodwill or similar thrift store. Or, donate it to a student heading off for college, list it on Craigslist or Freecycle. You will be doing a good deed while getting rid of your unwanted microwave.