I didn’t own a microwave for my entire adult life, until a couple of years ago, and that’s only because I moved in with someone who already had one. I wasn’t against them or anything, I just didn’t want yet another appliance cluttering up my space. I guess I should have got one at some point, because most of the time, microwaves do have some nice eco-benefits, such as…
- Microwaves cook faster than most ovens or stoves, and cooking faster means less energy waste.
- If you reheat leftovers or small portions in a microwave, it can save you up to 80% cooking energy.
- Microwaves save on a/c costs in summer, as they don’t generate as much heat as the typical oven or stove.
- Microwaves are recyclable in many cases. Call your microwave manufacturer or visit Earth 911 to locate a facility that will take your old microwave.
- In the 80s and 90s you’d still hear that microwaves emit weird toxic waves into your home. That was true. Some older microwaves did emit high levels of not so safe waves. In fact, even now, all microwaves do work via electromagnetic radiation, but the FDA sets safe radiation levels now, so new microwaves on the market are pretty safe. Course, it’s the FDA, so… take this info with a grain of salt.
- Microwaves can save you time, so you can invest that time in other, useful eco-activities.
Do microwaves have any eco-cons?
- There is no ENERGY STAR label for residential ovens, ranges, or microwave ovens at this time – they do make energy star commercial ovens, but that’s it.
- Microwaving plastic containers can release bad chemicals into your kitchen and food. Avoid this issue by using food-safe glass containers vs. plastic in your microwave.
- Nutrient worries are something to consider, but not freak about. In any case, whether you use a stove or microwave, cooking foods for prolonged periods will zap out healthy nutrients. Just cook food lightly and you won’t need to worry.
- Microwaves usually stay plugged in. While you won’t stop global warming by unplugging an appliance or two, every bit of energy savings can save you $, so unplug your microwave when it’s not in use.
- Dirty microwaves cook slower and are less energy efficient. Keep your microwave clean, naturally.
- Older microwaves don’t just emit higher levels of radiation, but they’re far less energy efficient. In the case of microwaves, newer is better.