Microwave Recycling

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Microwave Recycling


Microwaves can be recycled with your electronics OR with your scrap metal. 

If you choose to put your microwaves with your scrap metal, CAPACITORS MUST BE REMOVED. 


Per NRRA’s Metal Vendor, the reason why capacitors should be remove is that capacitors can store energy and can be a leading cause for fire in a scrap pile or dumpster in addition to environmental concerns.  Our vendor has never heard of a person getting shocked while removing a capacitor.  They recommend unplugging the unit, and prior to removing capacitor, power cycle the unit.  This 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.”



Recommended Process to Remove Capacitors:

  • Make sure microwave has been unplugged for at least 1 hour. 
  • Remove outside cover.

  • 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.

  • Mark three (3) sides of the microwave with a large X (inside a circle) using a brightly colored paint (fluorescent orange recommended).


Disposal of Capacitors:

If capacitors are marked "NO PCBs" - they can be disposed of in the MSW or with your electronics - DO NOT PLACE IN SCRAP METAL.

If capacitors are NOT marked "NO PCBs," - they are considered hazardous waste (could contain beryllia) and need to placed in a marked bucket.

  • These can be disposed of with your electronics, with fluorescent bulbs or at your Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day - DO NOT PLACE IN SCRAP METAL.

If you choose to put your microwaves with your electronics, capacitors do not have to be removed.


Examples of capacitors marked "NO PCBs"