How do I Recycle: an old Microwave?

How do I Recycle my Microwave? with image of two old microwaves
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Good news! Microwaves can be recycled with your electronics OR your scrap metal. Be sure to ask your recycling center operator to see if your center has a preference.

If you choose to put your microwaves with your scrap metal, CAPACITORS MUST BE REMOVED. According to NRRA's metal vendor, in addition to environmental concerns, capacitors can store energy and are fire hazards in scrap piles and dumpsters. If you choose to put your microwaves with your electronics, capacitors do not have to be removed. While our vendor has never heard of a person getting shocked while removing a capacitor, they do have recommendations for safe removal. It is advised that you unplug the unit, and power cycle* the unit PRIOR to removing capacitor. *"Power cycle" is when the “power” button, or “quick start” button is pressed a couple times. (Unit does not have to be plugged in to do this). This will draw any remaining power in the system and should mitigate the risk of shock.

1. Unplug unit and power cycle unit.
2. Make sure microwave has been unplugged for at least 1 hour.
3. Remove outside cover.
4. To assure no charge is existing: with an insulated screwdriver, connect capacitor terminals by touching both together at the same time (short) and remove capacitor.
5. Mark three sides of the microwave with a large X (inside a circle) using a brightly colored paint - fluorescent orange recommended.
For more information on recycling a microwave:

This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service. Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc., is an equal opportunity provider and employer.