Microwave pretreatment is a promising and unsophisticated technique for energy recovery in solid waste management. The present investigation was focused on microwave activated carbonization of mixed solid waste (MSW). The effect of process parameters such as size of particles, temperature and duration of carbonization, microwave output power for pretreatment, irradiation time and amount of additives added during microwave heating were studied. The most important factors that influenced MW drying (pre-treatment) were found to be the sample mass and the Microwave output power. Microwave induced carbonization not only overcomes the disadvantages of conventional heating method such as low heat transfer rate but also improves the quality of final carbonization products. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.