What To Do With Your Old Microwave

Lots of old microwaves

Find out how and why you should recycle your old microwave oven.

Recycling your e-waste, such as old microwaves, is becoming an increasingly important part of recycling. So, if you’re looking to replace your microwave, it’s a good idea to first research what to do with your old one.

We do offer our own appliance disposal service, however there are some other ways to recycle your old appliance.

4 Responsible Ways to Dispose of Your Microwave in the UK:

  • Recycle

The first and most popular option for disposing of your microwave is recycling. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways, which is explained below, including our own recycling service.

  • Sell

If your microwave is still in good working order, you may be able to sell it. The easiest way to do this is online. However, due to their size and fragility, we’d recommend selling your microwave locally. Try online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.

  • Donate

Donating it to a charity shop is a great way to help someone out, and raise a bit of money for a good cause too. Not everyone that needs a microwave oven can afford one. Charity shops are a great way for someone to get a great, time-saving, convenient device. Or, if you have a friend in need, consider donating it directly to them.

  • Apply for Bulky Waste Collection from the Council

Some council areas offer a Bulky Waste Collection service for large items such as household appliances. This includes microwaves. Unfortunately this service is often difficult to get due to a high demand. There’s also a waiting time of approximately 2-4 weeks before collection. It’s also important to note that there is usually an extra fee to pay for electrical waste too.

Why Should You Dispose of Your Old Microwave Responsibly?

So, now that you know how to dispose of your microwave responsibly, you may be asking why. What’s the point?

Unfortunately, climate change is becoming an undeniable threat too large for anyone to ignore. Over 98% of scientists around the world agree that climate change is being aggressively accelerated by our own actions and habits. The consensus is that we may now only have ten years to attempt to reverse a catastrophic climate event.

Old appliances come under the umbrella term of electronic waste, or ‘e-waste’. The amount of e-waste produced year on year is growing . 2021 saw 57.4 million metric tons of e-waste produced around the world. As of 2023 there is over 347 million metric tons of unrecycled e-waste on earth.

Sadly, the UK is currently the second-highest contributor to e-waste. New research shows that, by 2024, we will become the largest contributor. This means it’s more important than ever that we do our bit to make change happen!

When E-waste is not disposed of properly it releases toxins like mercury, chlorofluorocarbons and lead into the natural world. Not only that, but precious metals are going to waste too. Within the waste, there is an estimated 52 billion dollars worth of gold, silver, iron, palladium, copper, and more.

Help Us Reduce E-Waste in the UK

Around 60% of e-waste comes from household appliances like microwave ovens. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are responsibly disposing of your electronic waste. By doing this, you allow:

  • Materials and components to be recycled
  • Raw materials to be salvaged 
  • Harmful substances to be controlled, and not left to ruin the natural environment.

How to Recycle a Microwave Oven

Appliance City’s Recycling Service

We offer our very own recycling service!

  • For £25, we will take your old appliance upon delivery of your new one, and recycle it on your behalf.

Managing a household is hard work! Let us deal with some of the hassle for you, and help save the environment too.

Appliance City Recycling Truck Icon

However, if you’d prefer to recycle your microwave yourself, you can do. Firstly, head to the RecycleMore website to find your closest recycling centre. Then, take everything you need to recycle to them, and they’ll handle the rest.

Microwaves are categorised as small household appliances.

What Happens to Recycled Microwaves?

  1. After you’ve taken your microwave to your closest recycling centre they are taken to a hammer mill. Here they are smashed and broken down into little bits.
  2. The fragments are put on a conveyor belt and sorted by ferrous and non-ferrous materials. Ferrous metals are magnetic so these are easily sorted. A vacuum will suction any light debris off of the fragments too, such as dirt.
  3. Some components contain both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. These are collected at manual picking points on the recycling journey.
  4. Any batteries are removed and all the material that can be collected is sent to specialists. The plastic will go to a specialist company for further refinement, and the metals head to smelters.

Recycled household small appliances help to produce:

  • Electric Motors
  • Cardboard
  • Batteries
  • Circuit Boards
  • Raw Materials (Metals, Plastics)

Examples of What Can Be Created Using Recycled Microwaves

Conductive wiring
Conductive Wiring
Electronic parts
Electronic Parts
White car
New Appliances
  • Microwaves are often made using stainless steel. This is the most recyclable metal on Earth! 


  • Can you put a microwave in the bin?

No, you cannot put a microwave in the bin. Not only do many local councils have legislation against it, but it is also harmful to the environment. Instead, you should look into recycling your microwave.

  • Should you throw away a rusty microwave?

If you have rust on the inside of your microwave, you should stop using it. This is because it can leak microwave radiation, which is harmful. If you find rust on the inside of your microwave, you should safely dispose of it.

Need more information?