7 Ideas for What to Do with an Old Microwave

So, your microwave finally bit the dust. You found a new one that you love, but now you’re stuck facing a new problem: what to do with an old microwave? Can you put it to the curb? Is that safe? Could there be something better than that to do with it?

Let’s talk about it! After all, the average life expectancy of a microwave is only 5-7 years. It’s likely that this is something that you’ll run into multiple times throughout your life, so it’s important to know your options!

If you haven’t yet selected a new appliance, how about checking out our best air fryer microwave combo units for a handy multifunctional option.

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What to Do with an Old Microwave That Still Works

Maybe you swapped from a countertop to an above the stove model. Perhaps you wanted new features or a new color to match your kitchen. Whatever your reasons, now you want to figure out what to do with an old microwave that still works.

If you’ve upgraded your old unit but it’s otherwise still functional, there are a couple different options for how to get rid of your microwave:

If your microwave is in good working order despite its age, check for a local charity building supply that will accept it. Habitat for Humanity ReStore has locations nationwide, but there may be other options in your specific area.

Additionally, thrift locations such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army will accept donations of microwaves that work. While not as specifically tailored as the home building charities, they’re still a great option for your microwave to find a new life.

Sell Your Old Microwave Online

To get rid of a microwave that still works, you could always sell it online! I don’t recommend shipping units due to weight and fragility of the electronics, so count online auction sites like eBay out unless you do local pickup.

However, there are lots of great local neighborhood pages online, Marketplace on social media, and even the tried and true garage sale method for getting rid of that old microwave. Plus you’ll get a few dollars back in your pocket to put towards the new one!

How to Get Rid of an Old Microwave That No Longer Works

Now that we’ve talked about some things to do with a working microwave, how do you get rid of a microwave that isn’t working? Thankfully, there are several options depending how you’d like to tackle the situation!

Use an E-Waste Recycling Service to Get Rid of Your Microwave

Most urban localities have an e-waste service available as part of local trash pickup. They accept most appliances, light bulbs, and electronics for specialized recycling. Consult your local municipality to find out about the services available for your specific location.

Depending where you are, you may have to drop the microwave off at a designated location. However, some locales (including where I live) offer scheduled pickup! You just confirm day and time and leave it on the curb. Best of all – there may be no charge.

Can Microwaves Go in the Recycling Bin?

While most parts of a microwave are actually recyclable, it’s not likely that you can place them in your curbside recycling bin. Most localities won’t have the ability to process them.

Using the e-waste service is a much more reliable way to recycle your microwave.

recycle your old microwave

Recycle Your Old Microwave at a Retailer

You may not know this, but some large retailers accept electronics and appliances like microwaves for recycling! Here are some of the national options, but you may find some other local options as well:

  1. Best Buy.  Did you know that the Best Buy recycling program allows you to drop off your microwave in most stores in the US?
  2. Lowes. While they don’t offer drop off, some Lowes locations will pick up your old microwave for recycling. The catch though is that there may be a fee if you don’t buy your new one from them.
  3. Sears. A little more hit and miss than the other two options, Sears also accepts microwaves for recycling. However, not all locations do and fees vary, so be sure to check with your local store for specifics.

Check the Manufacturer Policies on Your Old Microwave

Believe it or not, some manufacturers offer a buyback program and they will help you get rid of your old microwave. As a bonus, they’ll probably even give you some money to help with the purchase of another one (from them, of course). For example:

Just keep an eye out for current incentives for your specific manufacturer – you never know!

It’s also worth mentioning that if your microwave happens to “go before its time” that you may even have a manufacturer warranty available. Make sure to look into that, as they may repair or replace the unit for you.

Sell or Donate Your Old Microwave for Parts

While this option may require a little more legwork, you may be able to sell or donate your old microwave for parts. Now, I’m not recommending that you strip the electronics yourself, as that’s dangerous to someone untrained.

Instead, you’ll want to be on the lookout for local appliance repair shops in your area. Depending on their current need, they may be interested in purchasing your old microwave so that they can reuse the parts to fix other microwaves!

Contact Your Utility Company to Get Rid of Your Old Microwave

You probably had no idea your utility company might help with your old microwave. However, many providers offer incentives to customers upgrading to energy efficient appliances! If you fall into that category, they might just be willing to help.

Now, that said, a lot of electric providers only incentivize refrigerators and freezers. Microwaves aren’t “big” enough to make an impact so they won’t provide recycling services. You may still be eligible for a rebate though, so it’s still worth looking into even if they can’t help you get rid of your old microwave.

Can I Just Throw My Old Microwave in the Garbage or a Dumpster?

The answer here is: maybe. Microwaves technically contain nothing hazardous. Just because your unit isn’t going to leak Freon everywhere, though, doesn’t mean it’s meant for the curb.

Since much of a microwave is recyclable as we’ve discussed, there are far better options for the disposal of your old one than sitting in a landfill.

If you’re intent on chucking it though, make sure to check your local jurisdictions list for prohibited items. While it’s not on all of them, microwaves do make the ban list on a lot of them. If you toss one, you could be facing fines (and no one wants that).


If you’re looking for what to do with an old microwave, we’ve covered 7 different options to inspire you. Whether your unit is working or not, you certainly have options!

Where you live will drastically affect what will work for you, as regulations vary greatly between different cities, and urban vs countryside environments. However, almost every household has a microwave, and there’s a way to get rid of it when the time comes.

If you’re still in the market for a new unit, check out our best microwave under $100 for some budget-friendly picks!


You may also be interested in these related articles:

Don’t throw it out! Learn how to get burnt popcorn smell out of a microwave and other helpful cleaning tips in our handy guide.

What happens if you microwave nothing? Find out if you need to replace your microwave!

Can you put aluminum foil in the microwave? Your mom always said not to microwave metal, but you might be surprised by the truth!

Katie Vine