Well, our microwave oven died.
It was shooting off sparks and everything, but I was not allowed to run and get the camera. I assure you that it was awesome. And of course incredibly frightening, as there were sound effects involved.
(Times like these always evoke Bob Saget’s voice in my memory, reminding me as I watch America’s Funniest Home Videos that injury is not funny: “If Grandma’s wheelchair is about to roll into the Grand Canyon, PUT THE CAMERA DOWN and go help Grandma…” Shockingly, I was unable to find an instance of this on YouTube. I thought you could find anything on YouTube!)
So now we are sans microwave. My kitchen feels a lot lighter. But, we NEED a microwave. It’s non-negotiable. My whole cooking schedule revolves around batch making a week’s worth of food in two cooking binges (Sunday and Wednesday) and reheating as necessary. I do this partly to conserve energy, partly to keep the house cool, and mostly because it makes my life soooo much easier.
I am a trifle upset by having to end my mental buy-nothing campaign, not to mention the fact that a new microwave is so not in our budget. But, moving on. Time to find an appropriate replacement microwave.
First Google search: “Energy Star and microwave”. Learned that Energy Star does not rate microwaves. Not helpful.
Second Google search: “Green microwaves”. Returned a variety of microwave ovens to match your colorful kitchen decor.
Third Google search: “consumer reports and microwaves”. Requires a paid subscription. Sigh.
Fourth Google search: “green shopping”. The idea being, greenie websites would direct me to good microwave choices. Found and tagged “Green Resource Online: Top 25 Shopping Sites”. I can see this coming in handy later, but still nothing on microwaves.
Now getting irritated- I really don’t like shopping- I start casting about, checking “green” websites for suggestions.
- Ideal Bite suggested this microwave but it is no longer available, and I’m not really certain what criteria they used to choose it anyway.
- My favorite green shopping website is The Green Office because they offset their delivery emissions and they offer free shipping on most orders over $49. They list three microwaves, but the cheapest one runs $135.12. What? $135.12? I think my last microwave cost $40…but then, it only lasted three years.
- I check Diane’s Big Green Purse but no hits for a search on microwaves.
Back to Google. A search for “energy-efficient microwave” reveals that 3 people on 43 Things want to buy an energy efficient microwave, but they don’t list any specifics. Ha! Soon they will be where I am. I do learn that microwave cooking can be up to 80% more efficient than using my oven. Thanks for the tip, that’s why I’m looking for an energy efficient microwave.
I am very very frustrated! I understand that a microwave, in and of itself, is not an ecologically sound purchase, nor is it a “green is sexy” type of purchase. But for me it is a necessary purchase, and I am rationalizing that the energy savings makes it a smart purchase, but I also want it to be a mindful purchase. I don’t want to just drive to Target and buy whatever is on sale.
I don’t need bells and whistles, I don’t need a popcorn button, I don’t need a defrost function. I need it to warm up my husband’s sausage and pepper sandwich at 11:00 p.m. so I don’t have to do it myself on the stovetop.
Ideally I am looking for something that meets as many of the following guidelines as possible. In order of importance:
- Microwave should be energy-efficient: powerful enough that it doesn’t take longer than necessary to reheat meals, not so powerful that it is overkill.
- Microwave should not have to replaced (and landfilled) in as little as three years. I want something that is going to last a while.
- Microwave should be made from recycled or otherwise environmentally friendly materials? Is this possible?
- Microwave should be made by environmentally and ethically responsible company? How is this information to be found out?
- Microwave should not cost amount of money that causes me to fan myself with hand and swoon into nearest chair.
- Microwave should not have vampiric energy-sucking powers. But, I can run it to a strip with a switch if necessary.
- Microwave should involve minimal packaging.
- Microwave should have relatively small physical footprint as I have grown used to its absense on my countertop.
Are there other factors I should be considering? Does anyone have any suggestions?
Companies they like? Microwaves they like? Thoughts? Concerns? Advice?