Earth first

Can you throw away a microwave?

So, it’s been a while since you last bought a new microwave. It’s probably super greasy inside from all the pasta explosions that have built up over the years. The buttons are probably faded and sticky, and you start thinking it might be a good idea to buy one now that there’s a big Spring sale going on.

Your microwave still works, but I mean…the new one you’ve been eyeing is energy-saving and has 23 more functions, including a button for microwave-cooked potatoes. You didn’t know that was even a thing!

So then, what do you do with your outdated microwave? You can’t just throw it away (HELLO, E-WASTE?), especially since the European Commission passed adopted “WEEE” in 2006.  Recycling centres and collectors may not even take them because microwaves have electrical components that are dangerous to handle (like its capacitor), but you can check with your local collector anyway.

Before you go ahead and upgrade your microwave, you might want to take these points into consideration:

My microwave still works

  1. Give it a good clean and donate it to your local charity—you never know who might need it.
  2. Or, if you want to make a little cash, sell it at a car boot sale or flea market or yard sale. Also broaden your horizons and look into selling it in an online marketplace.
  3. If you’re not feeling that generous, you can always be the best uncle/aunt and sell it to your niece or nephew who just moved into a university flat share.

My microwave hates me (and doesn’t work)

  1. Try taking it to your local repair shop to see if it’s a simple fix of replacing a certain part. You can even call your manufacturer to see if they can send you replacement parts. Once it’s fixed, maybe then you can sell it to your niece or nephew ?
  2. If it’s unfixable, ask the repair shop if they would like to accept a generously donated (unrepairable) microwave. Sometimes they might be able to dismantle it and use parts of your microwave.
  3. Ask your local E-waste collection centres if they can take your microwave.
  4. Sometimes you can find recyclers that specialise in recycling household appliances. You can call your local commune and ask for this information. If all else fails, there’s always Google.
  5. Call your manufacturer to see if they can take back the microwaves for responsible disposal, or to see if they can provide you with any replacement parts.

Once you’ve found a new home for your old microwave (whether in parts or in whole), you can guilt-freely head over and buy that new microwave—but wait, refrigerators are on sale too?!

Okay, settle down you shopaholic. Just remember to be more conscious about what happens to your old appliances before purchasing a new one!

Walk yourself through the points to consider above. It doesn’t just apply to microwaves, but to all your kitchen appliances, like toasters, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, etc.

Do you have any more ideas on how to responsibly purchase new appliances? Let us know what you did below! And don’t forget to include a picture!

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