How to Dispose of a Microwave
What to know

How to Dispose of a Microwave?

How should you go about disposing of a microwave? Do you hand it to your nearest dumpster, junkyard, or garbage man? Is there a center you’re supposed to head to in order to dispose of it? How is microwave disposal done from state to state?

Getting rid of a microwave can be more difficult than you think. Maybe people just leave a broken microwave in their cellar or attic until the next garage sale and the like. Or they can ask the garbage man where they could send the machine when push comes to shove.

Don’t just toss the device into the trash because in some states, this could lead to fines or penalties (such as the State of California).

How to Dispose of a Microwave

Check your municipal dump website in order to get info on how to get rid of a broken microwave. We ourselves talked to the garbage man about it and he pretty much said the same thing but shared info on what he did know, like where the nearest recycling center or junkyard is.

Some states have companies that offer appliance disposal and recycling services to households at that. The municipal dump website might not list microwaves specifically, which means that you can toss your microwave in the dumpster and your garbage man will take care of it for you.

It’s more ecologically sound, however, to donate the old unit for spare parts. If you’re unsure about dumping the machine, then donate or recycle it through listed recycling centers in your neighborhood.

How to Dispose of a Microwave
How to Dispose of a Microwave?

Can You Throw Away a Microwave in a Dumpster?

It depends on where you live in the United States or abroad. Every state in the U.S. has their own rules, whether lackadaisical or stringent. However, as a citizen of the world as well as America, it is your duty to find environment-friendly ways to go about microwave disposal that doesn’t just involve landfills.

You might live in cities that toss microwaves into dumpsters no problem as long as you’re permitted to use said dumpster. Other areas and counties might consider the machine as “small appliances” waste or “e-waste”, which have special disposal rules you must abide by.

Otherwise, you might get fined or penalized for simply dumping it inside a dumpster, especially if your face or car license plate gets caught by one of their cameras.

Can You Recycle a Microwave?

Companies regularly recycle many parts found in the microwave. The issue is finding places that’ll accept such a device in the first place. In most states, you can just dump the appliance in the landfill because they don’t want to pay processing fees.

Microwaves are complex machines that need processing in order to separate each and every component. This means that your best bet at old microwave disposal, especially those that don’t work anymore, is your area’s nearest recycling centers.

Where Can You Dispose of a Microwave?

If you can’t use a dumpster for microwave disposal, you can take your old broken microwave to a variety of places in order to get rid of it. If it’s not broken, you’re encouraged to donate or recycle it for parts.

  • Thrift Stores or Donation Stores: If your microwave still functions but you only want to replace it with a new one, you can donate it to a thrift or donation store. Someone else can get it cheap until they too can afford a new microwave.

Furthermore, second-hand stores donate some of their revenue to charities, thus you’re doing the world good twice over in a certain point of view!

  • Utility Companies: If you have an energy-inefficient microwave you wish to dispose, your utility company might get rid of the appliance for you. Many power companies actually pick up old, inefficient appliances if you wish to replace them with a newer, more power-efficient model.
  • Local Landfills: Many landfills allow you to dump things directly unto them but you have to pay a small fee in order to do so. If you’re disposing an old microwave but you aren’t allowed to dump it in the dumpster then the local landfill can serve as your alternative.

Additionally, they’ll give you a specific e-waste bin or small appliance waste bin, depending on the city. It’s either you find that e-waste bin or get Google Maps to direct you to the nearest dumpster.

  • Bulk Trash Pickup Days: Many cities have a once-yearly day for bulk trash pickup. During that time, large items can be trashed along with normal daily trash. If you have a bulk trash day scheduled, you can dispose your microwave during such a time.
  • Electronic Stores: If you wish to dispose of a newer model microwave then you’ll have to deal with its fancy circuitry from within. It might be more prudent, therefore, to present them to certain electronic stores that actually recycle such devices for you.

They’re after the metals found in such circuits. Check listings of local stores near you in case they do accept old microwaves for recycling.

  • The Manufacturer: If you wish to replace your old microwave with a newer model from the same brand, the company might actually pick the old one up for free or you can send it back to them without any fees. Others require you to pay for shipping costs though.

Which Stores Accept Old Microwaves?

Many stores accept old microwaves for disposal. Just expect to pay a small processing fee when all is said and done. Others actually take the microwave off of your hands with no extra charge. Looking for such a store can be as simple as finding an appliance dealer or tech company in your area.

Such stores that typically accept old microwaves include the following.

  • Lowes
  • Staples
  • Office Depot
  • ApplianceSmart
  • General Electric
  • Independent appliance repair stores

They professionally take the microwave apart, recycle some of the parts, and then dispose of the rest. That takes the responsibility of disposal off of your hands.

To Sum Up

Safe disposal of your old microwave is important although it can also be annoying. It’s about knowing how to junk the device or where to place it when it stops working or has been “bricked” (in that it no longer functions except as an oversized paperweight).

To get rid of your microwave simply and legally, ask your garbage man about it. Or you can use guides like this for your answers but to cover all your bases, it’s best to find a specific answer to your specific location since state laws differ from state to state.


  1. Kevin Marshall, “Five Ways to Dispose of Your Microwave“,, September 18, 2020
  2. Throwing Away A Microwave: Where & How To Do It“,, Retrieved January 22, 2022

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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