Because microwaves cook faster than ovens and stoves, they can be a very energy efficient way to cook, especially if reheating leftovers. It’s best to choose one that will last, and recycle your old one properly, as electronic waste can have huge detrimental impacts on the environment.
Unfortunately, microwaves don’t come with an energy star label so finding more efficient ones can be tricky. However, some do come with nifty automatic programs that make them that bit more environmentally-friendly – such as working out the time needed to microwave an item based on the weight, which prevents energy wasted microwaving items for longer than needed.
We also recommend keeping your microwave clean as dirty ones cook slower, making them less energy efficient. You can find a DIY natural cleaner here.
Our Top Picks…
Company: independent and family-owned since its inception in 1899, Miele are passionate about sustainability, winning the German sustainability award in 2014 and working toward carbon neutrality by 2050. Their sustainability report has clearly been thought through, as they align with scientific targets of keeping temperatures below 2°C and consider not only their manufacturing emissions but also emissions during the use of their goods. It is evident from the progress detailed in the 2021 report that this company sets green milestones to achieve them, and not to entice well-meaning consumers.
Product: whilst definitely more expensive, Miele microwaves are built to last which is always an environmental benefit. Their range consists of one free-standing microwave costing £615 and five built-in microwaves ranging from £769-£1,179. Most of their microwaves come with automatic programmes; this means you input the programme and weight and the microwave will calculate and run the correct duration, which saves energy wasted on cooking food for too long. They also provide a two-year warranty on all their appliances (we strongly recommend their dishwashers too).
Company: AEG are part of the Electrolux group who reported a 70% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions from operations since 2005 in their 2020 sustainability report. They are aiming for climate neutral operations emissions by 2030 and for a climate neutral value chain – i.e. all activities involved in bringing a valuable product to market (logistics, marketing, HR etc.) by 2050. They acknowledge that scope 3 emissions are responsible for around 85% of their climate impact, and are therefore prioritising improved product efficiency, one of their nine promises ‘For a Better 2030’. Other commitments include more effective use of resources, elimination of harmful materials. One way they are doing this is through eliminating use of hydro fluorocarbons (potentially harmful refrigerants) and are finding alternative refrigerants with less Global Warming Potential. And their promises are followed by results; in 2019 their products used 20 times more recycled plastic than in 2011.
Product: AEG only sell integrated microwaves, but are a much cheaper option that doesn’t compromise on style. Their microwaves range from around £450-£1,049 (dependent on retailer). They feature an automatic defrost option based on food type and weight, as well as the favourite’ function, which allows you to save frequently used settings and access them with a single touch. They offer a 2-year warranty on all appliances, and we love that for a small fee they will recycle your old microwave. The fee pays for the safe transportation of the product, the actual recycling cost are footed by the manufacturer.
Company: Beko is part of Arçelik, who have some inspiring sustainability goals. They are aiming to reduce energy consumption per product by 45%, increase their waste recycling rate to 99% in global operations and reduce water withdrawal per product by 45%, all by 2030, from their 2015 baseline. They also want to increase recycled plastic content in products to 40% by 2030.
Brand: Beko offer the widest range of both free-standing and built-in microwaves, ranging from £65 for a 700W compact microwave to £319. The built-in ones come with a 2-year guarantee. These are a great choice if you are looking for a free-standing microwave or have a smaller budget.
We do our best to research and find the most environmentally-friendly companies to recommend at GoEco. However, if you have any suggestions that we might not know of, or disagree with any of our recommendations, please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. We always want to learn more about the companies with the potential to save our future!