Like many other appliances, scrapping a microwave can be tough. However, with the right know-how and just a little bit of luck, your microwave could be worth a lot more disassembled when you take it to the scrap yard.
This is because microwaves can contain sources of valuable metals like copper, and because even the more common metals used to make microwaves will be worth more if taken off or out of the machine before taking them in to scrap.
Before you start dismantling your microwave for scrap, there is some important prep work to do. First, you need to make sure you have the following vital safety equipment:
- protective eyewear
- work gloves
- long sleeves
You’ll also want to make sure you’re working in a clean environment—both to keep your valuable scrap clean and to keep yourself safe.
Also, the first thing you want to do when beginning to disassemble any appliance is cutting the cord. This is a safety measure—and on top of that, you can get a standard insulated wire price for the cord, or strip it down to further clean and separate the conductive metal inside.
Last but not least, it’s worth looking up videos or instructions for disassembling your particular brand and model of microwave online. While disassembling a microwave won’t be described in a standard instruction manual, it’s a pretty common scrapping practice, and a more experienced scrapper might have some great safety or technical advice.
Finishing the Microwave Dissassembly Job
Now you’re ready to start the job properly. First, remove the screws that attach the back panel. You should save your screws every time you disassemble an appliance. Though they may not weigh much on their own, they’re essentially free scrap—and if you work with appliances often, you might save up a substantial bunch in no time.
Remove or fold back the rear panel to gain access to the microwave. There may be another panel inside to remove. There may also be components for you to take out, such as wiring and fans. Separate ferrous and non-ferrous metal with a magnet, and keep removing screws wherever you see them.
As you remove screws and cut wires, you should be able to remove larger components of the microwave. Fans are great, as are the motherboards present in modern microwaves. Try to remove plastic and insulation wherever you can, but be safe about it!
The power supply is the main place where you will find copper. This is usually a large metal cube with one face removed, which has wires feeding into and out of it. There are sometimes coils of copper and other valuable metals inside.
For safety reasons, if you see parts that you don’t recognize or that have warning labels affixed to them, do not open these components. Try to remove the areas around them to get them out of the way, but don’t open them. These can contain toxic substances!
Last but not least, remove all the plastic you can from the microwave before you take it to the yard, and be sure to take apart the motor that operates the turntable in order to separate the metals inside. The more you can safely and effectively disassemble your microwave, the more you’ll get for it!