The invention discloses a tandem microwave system consisting of a primary chamber in which microwave energy is used for the controlled combustion of materials. A second chamber is used to further treat the off-gases from the primary chamber by passage through a susceptor matrix subjected to additional microwave energy. The direct microwave radiation and elevated temperatures provide for significant reductions in the qualitative and quantitative emissions of the treated off gases. The tandem microwave system can be utilized for disinfecting wastes, sterilizing materials, and/or modifying the form of wastes to solidify organic or inorganic materials. The simple design allows on-site treatment of waste by small volume waste generators.