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How to dispose of old smoke detectors

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  • How to dispose of old smoke detectors

    Afternoon everyone,

    In promoting fire prevention week and smoke detector safety, one of our local residents asked for recommendations on how to dispose of old smoke detectors. I could not answer this person. Any suggestions? Recycle them? Throw them out? Are there any hazard concerns? Thanks!


  • #2
    Throw them in a Prius for disposal. The miracle car that cures all environmental concerns!


    • #3
      The way you dispose of your smoke detector will depend on what type of smoke detector it is. A majority of smoke detectors used in homes and corporate settings usually fall within two categories. These smoke detectors are either photoelectric smoke detectors or ionization smoke detectors. They are so named because they implement different processes to achieve their results and they each need to be disposed of in different ways to prevent any harm, damage or needless waste.

      The easiest one to dispose of is the photoelectric smoke detector, these can be safely thrown in the trash and they will be out of your way. Simple and easy.

      On the other hand, ionization smoke detectors need to be handled differently because they contain small traces of a radioactive isotope (Americium 21). If they are not disposed of properly they can cause inadvertent damage to human life (if you are exposed to strong concentrations).

      To dispose of your ionization smoke detector, try getting in contact with the manufacturer that you bought it from. In some cases, they allow consumers to mail their old smoke detectors back so that the company handles the disposal. In lieu of this, hazardous waste centers also accept old ionization smoke detectors.

      Just make sure that before you dispose of your smoke detector, you take the time to try and identify what kind of smoke detector it is. This is a really simple process and merely involves looking at the back of your detector to see what it has been designated as.


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