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How Much is a Microwave Worth in Scrap Metal?

Anyone who has decided to get rid of their microwave knows that microwaves are at a premium. So much so, in fact, that you can make decent money back if you decide to sell yours in scrap metal.

More importantly, microwaves contain metals and other rare materials that can be recycled to make new products and the short answer is yes, it’s worth considering the environmental impact of recycling before deciding what to do with your old microwave oven.

But, how much is a microwave worth in scrap metal? This is a question that many have asked themselves. In this article, we look at how much a microwave is worth when it’s sold in scrap metal.

List of components you can scrap on a microwave

Microwaves house many different components

Component Percentage of Microwave Scrap Metal Material Price per Pound
Magnetron 15% Copper $3.00
Transformers 10% Copper $3.00
Door Switch 5% Copper $3.00
Capacitor 10% Aluminum $1.50
Chassis 60% Steel $0.50


How much is a scrap Microwave worth?

As previously stated, microwaves contain rare materials and metals that are used in a wide array of products.

For example, microwave ovens contain copper, iron, plastic, and other metals that can be recycled. Microwaves also contain rare earth metals such as neodymium and yttrium.

All of these substances are valuable in a variety of applications. Most people scrap the Copper in their microwave ovens.

However, the more material you scrap, the more money you can make.

As most microwaves contain a lot of copper, this is usually the first thing people will scrap from them as there can be a lot that can be extracted from the coils.

The problem with microwaves is that not all of the materials are worth money – especially if you’re trying to sell them for recycling.

In that case, another option would be to disassemble the parts and sell them separately.

Some of the valuable parts in a microwave include the magnetron, cooling fans, turntables, capacitors, transformer, thermal fuses, vent fans, and power connectors.

The material that is most worth keeping though is the glass door.

This is because it contains alkaline-based plastic and can be recycled to produce new plastics called polyester resin pellets.

Polyester resin pellets are used in a wide range of applications and are worth up to $3 per pound in scrap metal.

Since microwaves contain so much valuable material, they can be quite profitable to scrap.

What materials are recycled?

When we talk about recycling microwave ovens, the most important thing to consider is the environmental impact.

Nowadays, many companies recycle items, but they don’t all do it in an environmentally friendly way.

Many of the parts and materials in a microwave are recycled to produce new products.

Of course, it’s important to follow environmental regulations and adhere to federal standards when recycling microwave ovens.

These include:

  • The glass door, which is made from alkaline-based plastics. When this type of plastic reaches a recycling center, it’s separated into plastic resin pellets for reuse.
  • The magnetron is the part of the microwave responsible for the production of electromagnetic waves. The material used to make the magnetron is also recycled to produce new magnets.
  • The vent fans, which are made of aluminum. These are also recycled to produce new aluminum parts.
  • The transformer and power connectors, which contain steel and copper parts. These can be recycled to produce consumer electronics such as cell phones, laptops, and other devices.
  • The power cord has components made of plastic that are separated in recycling facilities.
  • Copper is the most profitable component when recycling microwaves. This is because copper is used in many different parts of consumer electronics. So, even if you don’t have anything to scrap with your microwave, you can still make money back by reselling it in scrap metal.

How to repurpose materials in a microwave

There are a number of ways that you can repurpose the materials in your microwave.

There is so much waste that’s filling up landfills and incinerators, so any contribution you can make to combat this problem is valuable.

Here are some ways that you can repurpose microwaves:


Although it seems strange, you can use your old microwave to store fresh bread.

If you’re not a fan of plastic bags, or if you just don’t have any of them, an old microwave will do the job quite nicely.

The best part about this is that your microwave can also be used to keep bread warm – although, we advise against it because microwaves aren’t meant for long-term storage or warming purposes.

Repurposed furniture

An old microwave oven doesn’t have to go into the trash.

You can easily repurpose it into something else.

If you don’t have a recycling center in your area, and if you can’t sell it, repurposing your microwave is a good alternative.

You can use it to make some unique pieces of furniture such as an old-fashioned microwave stand or even a small shelf.

Use it to display rare items

Do you have antiques or other old items that you can’t sell at the moment?

You can use an old microwave to present these items to people.

Its sleek design will highlight any treasures that you have hidden in it.

You can even make use of the light in the microwave to illuminate the old items.

Final Thoughts

Although microwaves aren’t suitable for long-term storage, they can still be used to store some items temporarily.

You can even use them as a display case for items such as artifacts and paintings.

However, the best thing about microwaves is that they can always be recycled and turned into something else.

Many recycling centers allow you to recycle your microwaves without any problems or questions asked.

So, if you’re worried about the safety of your microwave or unsure of what you should do with it, consider recycling your microwave oven in a safe way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you scrap out of a microwave?

Microwaves have many important parts that you can scrap including the magnetron, power connectors, cooling fans, capacitors, transformer, and thermal fuses.

You can also scrap the glass door, which contains alkaline-based plastic.

This is considered to be a valuable component of the microwave and can be recycled to produce new plastics.

How much do you get for your microwave?

Microwaves contain a range of valuable components that you can sell separately.

As such, you can’t put an exact price on them because they all have different values depending on where they’re sold.

Are there any potential safety electrical risks with disassembling a microwave

Yes, there are potential safety risks associated with disassembling a microwave. The microwave contains electrical components, such as the magnetron and transformer, which can be hazardous if not handled properly. It is important to unplug the microwave and discharge any capacitors before disassembling it, and to use appropriate tools and protective equipment to avoid injury.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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