Whether you realize it or not, you’ll eventually have to bid farewell to your toaster oven sooner or later. But how do you dispose of it? Toaster ovens are electronics, so surely they can be recycled, right?
The simplest thing you can do to recycle a toaster oven is to reach out to the nearest recycling service. They will tell you how to prepare it for recycling, or you can request that they come to pick it up.
Of course, there are other things you can do with the toaster oven if you’re not prepared to say goodbye to it just yet. In this guide, I’ll explain in detail what you have when your toaster oven has reached the end of its life.
How to Recycle a Toaster Oven
Toaster ovens are great for all sorts of things. You can use them to prepare a batch of toast, bake pizza and fresh loaves of bread, and even warm up leftovers for a sad dinner alone in your apartment. Unfortunately, toaster ovens are not indestructible, and you will eventually have to get rid of them to make room for a younger, hotter model.
So, when it comes time to replace your old toaster oven, you should figure out how to recycle it. Toaster ovens are made of recyclable parts, such as metal and various plastics. If you can’t get it repaired, you can let recycling services take it off your hands.
But how do you recycle a toaster oven? They’re quite bulky, so they might not fit in your recycling bin. You have two options for recycling a toaster oven:
1. Take it to the nearest recycling plant
The first option is to simply take the toaster oven and drive it to the nearest recycling plant.
Look online for the nearest recycling plant and give them a quick jingle. Ask them whether or not they accept toaster ovens. They might ask you a few quick questions (why are you recycling it, what’s it made of, how old is it, etc.) to gauge whether or not they can take it.
Usually, recycling plants are located outside city limits, so you’ll have a pretty long drive ahead of you. If you’d rather stay put at home, you have one more option for recycling the old appliance.
2. Request curbside pickup
Curbside service is usually reserved for common recyclable items—newspapers, cardboard boxes, and the like. If you try and place a toaster oven inside your recycling bin, there’s a good chance the pickup crew will leave it where it is, though it depends on your city ordinances and how you should properly dispose of large electronics.
However, if you previously reached out to the nearest recycling center and received the green light for curbside pickup, you can most certainly leave the appliance on the curb. The crew will whisk the electronic away the next time they pay your home a visit.
Preparing a Toaster Oven for Recycling
Before you dispose of an old toaster oven, there are a few things you should do to make it easier for yourself and the curbside pickup crew.
- Unplug the toaster oven for at least three days. This will give the appliance ample time to cool down, dry out, and de-charge. Many appliances, including toaster ovens, will continue to draw power when plugged in, and some of that charge will be stored in the unit’s control board. This can become a shock hazard to anyone who wants to crack the appliance open for proper disposal.
- Coil and fasten the power cord in place. This can stop you from tripping over the cord when you lug it outdoors and place it on your curb.
- Take out the removable accessories for future use. While the toaster oven may have reached the end of its lifetime, that doesn’t mean the stainless-steel racks, pans, and other accessories are broken. If you can reuse them, do so.
- Place the toaster oven on the curb before 7 AM. Most curbside pickup services pay visits to residential areas early in the morning. Leave it out on the day you want it to be picked up. If you don’t, someone else might take it off your hands (the horror!).
Can I Throw a Toaster Oven in the Dumpster?
Technically, you can. In fact, some service areas may request that you dispose of individual electronics in a dumpster rather than “bother” their crew with curbside pickup.
The problem with this is that while your toaster oven may be toast, that doesn’t mean its metal and circuit boards are unusable. Also, if you can reduce your contribution to US landfills, you should try your best to do so. Close to 140 million tons of garbage already wind up in landfills every year, so try and think of alternatives for disposing of old toaster ovens.
What Else Can I Do with an Old Toaster Oven?
So, what else can you do with old toaster ovens apart from sending them off to recycling centers? Glad you asked!
1. See whether the manufacturer offers a take-back program
Some manufacturers, like Hamilton Beach, have take-back programs where they’ll receive old appliances and dispose of them properly. Just reach out to the company, and a representative will instruct you on what you need to do before shipping the appliance to a certain address.
However, you will have to pay a shipping fee to send it back, but at least you won’t be adding to the growing pile of garbage in our landfills.
2. Fix it
Not ready to bid adieu to your reliable toaster oven? Well, why not see whether or not you can get it fixed? While you’re speaking to the manufacturer, ask if they have a repair center near you. If they do, drive the toaster oven to the address and see what they can do.
Again, you’ll have to pay the repair costs to restore your toaster oven to working order, but if you’re sentimentally attached to the appliance, it might be worth it.
3. Donate it
If you’re ready to upgrade your toaster oven, you don’t have to scrap the old one. You can try donating it to charity or to places like Goodwill. Don’t expect a lot of money for your troubles if you receive money at all.
4. Give it to a refurbishment program
Some non-profit organizations have volunteer refurbishment programs. They’ll receive old and worn-out appliances, fix them up, and resell them to support a specific cause.
5. Give it to a local trade school
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and this is certainly the case for old toaster ovens. Ask a local trade school or high school whether they need a broken toaster oven to give their students hands-on repair experience.
How Long Do Toaster Ovens Last?
Toaster ovens generally last for up to 5 years with regular use. You can probably squeeze an additional 2 or 3 more years from the device with proper maintenance—frequent cleaning, adequate cooldown periods, etc.
The thing about appliances is that every five years, there’s a younger, hotter model out there. The latest releases may be more energy-efficient, more aesthetically appealing, and come with a wider range of cooking functions.
In addition, you’ll most likely find 5-year-old appliances experiencing one issue or another, and the first problem you encounter may open the floodgates for a wide range of mechanical issues.
So, if your toaster oven is around five years old, it might be time to think of how you’re going to get rid of it.