This is my microwave.



One morning when I turned it on it made a zzzing noise and shut off in about ten seconds. Ted took it off to see if he could fix it. Meantime I looked around for where to recycle it. The Kitsap County Public Works web site said: “Small appliances such as microwaves, garbage disposals, etc. may be disposed of as garbage.”

I was very surprised and very upset. This thing cost who knows how much to make (I haven’t found a web site yet that tracks the real expenses), and after six years of use it turns into garbage? You’re kidding me.

Alex and I gave ourselves a challenge to live without a microwave. If we found it indispensible we would bring one back into the kitchen. Green web sites tell me the microwave is reasonably cost effective as a cooking device. Well, I don’t use it to cook. After two weeks of living without it I can tell you what I do with it:

  1. Reheat coffee.
  2. Warm up frozen soup for lunch.
  3. Melt butter.
  4. Heat cheese quesadilla with corn tortilla.
  5. Sterilize sponges.

Item one: I don’t reheat my coffee. This is the use I miss the most, having a second cup in the morning. We’re considering checking out a Mr. Coffee.

Items two, three and four: I use the stove. I melt butter in a little pan, heat soup in a little kettle, fry the quesadilla in a little frying pan.

Item five: I soak sponges in hot water with bleach mixed in.

Ted was able to fix the machine. It’s in the garage waiting for us to decide whether we are going to keep using it or give it to someone who wants it. I’ll tell you, if it does come back into the house, it’s not going back onto the counter – it took up way too much space and there just isn’t all that much in our tiny kitchen. We’re still making our decision, but I’m leaning toward giving it away and not replacing it. I just don’t think I can bring myself to use that much resource for such trivial purposes.

Kitsap County Public Works.


Microwave — 3 Comments

  1. Brandy

    I’ll tell you a little secret. In British Columbia, all devices with a plug are part of a manufacturer take-back program (much like computers and monitors are here). Perhaps you can smuggle the micro up there and use the trip as an excuse to eat great dim sum or Indian.

    Meanwhile, may I suggest a Melitta-style drip filter for your coffee. It requires boiling water and pouring, but you seem like the kind of person who woudnt mind. But the coffee tastes sooo much better than when you use a machine, plus you can give the filter and grounds to your worms or your compost heap, so zero waste.

    • LOL! That sounds like a great program. What do the manufacturers do with it next? So much of our trash ends up in other parts of the states, or the third world. There is no “away” in a closed system.

      I do use a Melitta filter now, but I don’t drink the whole cup before it gets cold. Alex kicked back on the Mr. Coffee idea. We had a Starbucks Barista machine in the basement that has a cup that keeps the coffee warm. I’m trying the machine out (unplugged when not in use). I’m also going to try making the Melitta coffee directly into the cup.

      • That’s funny. The only way I ever thought of making a Melitta is straight into the cup. I have a blue porcelain mug from KPLU that stays warm a long time. Of course I dont care for it piping hot either.

        Your concern about shipping wastes to the developing world is totally valid. EU and Canada are decades ahead of US on extended producer responsibility/product stewardship. When the producer is responsible for managing the waste, they are very motivated to reduce the cost of reusing or recycling – leading to less toxicity, less waste, easier to disassemble, etc. Long ways to go till we get there, and all the little steps help.

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