Apparatus and method for regenerating saturated adsorbents using microwave energy. A saturated adsorbent, such as activated carbon, is fed onto a continuously moving conveyor belt. The conveyor belt transports the carbon to a microwave cavity where the carbon is exposed to microwave energy. The cavity is defined by a containment enclosure which is sealed to prevent radiation leakage. The carbon is heated to a sufficient temperature to cause the contaminants to desorb. The system also includes vents for removing the desorbed contaminants and a holder for receiving the treated carbon discharged from the belt. The microwave cavity may be divided into a number of heating compartments so that the carbon on the belt is heated to different temperatures in each compartment. Each compartment is separately vented, thereby allowing selective recovery of the different contaminants in the carbon.