The other day, I installed a new “over-the-range” microwave in our rental home after the old one went kaput. But, after successfully installing the new microwave, I found myself with a large appliance that had no place to go and needed to get rid of the old microwave.
Needless to say, installing one of these bad boys wasn't as easy as some of those YouTube videos make it out to be! I was grateful to have the help of a good friend who helped me save on the installation costs. But I still wanted to find a way to ditch the old microwave without paying to dispose of the old appliance.
Many states in the U.S. now prohibit throwing away your old refrigerators, microwaves, appliances, electronics, and other hazardous waste in with your garbage. Many of them have components that are harmful to human health and the environment.
As a result, folks are often left to dispose of these items on their own time and dime.
Wait – I have to pay for this?
Since I had this hunk-o-junk leftover in the back seat of my car – I needed to find a place to dispose of it. After doing some preliminary searches, I wasn't real happy with the results. So, I thought, “this may make a good post and help other fellow junk haulers out!“
I already knew of our county's recycling / drop-off buildings that take in old microwaves and other household goods. But I also knew it wasn't free. For a microwave and other “smaller” appliances like it – our county charges $15 per item. “Isn't this why I pay taxes?“
After doing some digging, I came up with a little list that may aid you in offloading your junk. And, please let me know if you know of any other places that I may have missed here. Each state/region is different in how they handle old appliances, electronics, and other icky stuff – so I would love to get a list going in the comment section to help others out.
Please mention your state in case you aren't from Minnesota.
Craiglist – Quickest free way to dispose of refrigerators and microwaves
One way to get rid of your stuff is by placing an ad in Craigslist and then listing the items you want to have picked up. In the title or somewhere near the top of your body copy, you'll want to add the words “Attention Scrappers“. This will alert men/women who make a living off picking up appliances and other large items that are made of metal, who turn around and flip them for profit. I've had success with this tactic – so I know it works (and it is free). The downside here is that you may need to be around when they come for the item and/or someone may or may not show.
Free Bulk Trash Pickup – Most reliable free way to dispose of refrigerators and microwaves
Many municipalities offer periodic free bulk trash pickup days. However, these are usually only scheduled between 2 to 4 times per year.
To take advantage of these services, you'll need to time the disposal of your appliances with the dates that bulk trash pickup occurs in your area.
Note: You may need to do a bit of work before bringing your items to the curb such as removing doors or certain parts of your bulky items. Waste Management has a page that offers guidelines on what can and can't be disposed of with bulk trash pickup.
Utilities – Most profitable free way to get rid of microwaves and refrigerators
Here in Minnesota, one of the main utility companies actually pays you for disposing of your almost dead fridge or freezer.
So if you have an energy-sucking appliance (that's still functional) – and wish to upgrade to a newer, more efficient one – you can get a $35 rebate. Plus, they'll pick it up for you, free of charge. Although this program is only for working appliances, it may pay (literally) to check with your utility provider before offloading an appliance.
Sellers of Replacement Appliances – If you want to negotiate to haul away your appliances for free
Oftentimes when you need to dispose of an old appliance like a refrigerator or microwave, you'll need a replacement. Many sellers like The Home Depot or Lowe's charge fees for old appliance removal. These fees usually range from $25-$100.
However, I've found that this is almost always negotiable when you are buying a new appliance. If you enjoy negotiating for a deal (like I do!), tell a salesperson that you're ready to buy an appliance but will need the company to cover the cost to haul away your old appliance.
This has worked 100% of the time in my experience!
Manufacturers – Best way to recycle old appliances
Like with old ink cartridges, some appliance manufacturers will pay for you to ship the product back to their headquarters for recycling. The best thing to do is to go online to see if the manufacturer will help you dispose of the old appliance and where you need to go to drop-off or where you can send it (preferably only if they are paying for the shipping).
After doing some initial searches online for where I could get rid of my microwave, I found a couple of places that welcomed old appliances. One, in particular, was a place I had bought many of our other appliances. Many of their stores offered free drop-off of old appliances.
Some other retailers who are known to recycle appliances are ApplianceSmart, Best Buy, Sears, and Home Depot. I'd recommend starting with your local appliance store first to see what they recommend for proper disposal without incurring fees.
Responsible Appliance Disposal Under the EPA – Most Environmentally Friendly Way to Dispose of Refrigerator or Microwave
The EPA has an environmentally-friendly disposal and recycling program they call RAD – standing for Responsible Appliance Disposal. The RAD initiative was launched in 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve the ozone layer. Visit the RAD site to find out where your nearest appliance disposal sites are located.