The two types of smoke detectors are ionization and photoelectric detectors. Ionization smoke detectors contain a very minute amount of radioactive material known as Americium 241. Photoelectric-type smoke detectors do not contain any radioactive material. The amount of radioactive material contained in ionization smoke detectors is so small it does not pose a risk to human health. If the detector contains radioactive material, it is required by law to have a warning label on the body of the detector. Look for the label on the back of the detector facing the mounting base. For this reason, smoke detectors containing radioactive material should be returned to the manufacturer for disposal.
When returning a detector to the manufacturer, include a note indicating the detector is to be disposed of, and mail it to the address listed on the back of the detector. The following smoke detector manufacturers/distributors will take back their smoke detectors:
American Sensors/Dicon Global
- Phone: 800-387-4219
- Call to receive a number and return information
- Accepts Dicon Global
- American Sensors brands only
- Phone: 800-445-8299
- Firex c/o Disposal
28C Leigh Fisher Boulevard
El Paso, TX 79906
- Firex Site
- Phone: 800-323-9005, ext. 2
- Customer Service Department Accepts up to four device of First Alert/BRK brand at a time
- Call ahead for mailing instructions.
- 3920 Enterprise Court
Aurora, IL 60504
- Phone: 888-437-3287
- 12345 Southwest Levetan
Tualatin, OR 97062
- Dr. Will accept G.E. Security/ESL brands only
- Phone: 800-328-5111
- Returned Goods Honeywell, Inc.
1985 Douglas Drive North
Golden Valley, MN 55422
- Accepts Honeywell smoke detectors only
- Phone: 800-880-6788, ext. 1
- 1016 Corporate Park Dr.
Mebane, NC 27302
- Will only accept Kidde brand smoke detectors
- Local number
Call to find out if local Sears will accept smoke detectors
- Some Sears locations are designated collection sites
- Phone: 800-736-7672, ext. 1
- Call to receive a reference number and return information
- Will accept "System Sensor" brand only. Asking payment of $3 for each detector to cover recycling costs.
- Phone: 800-390-4321, ext. 1
- Attention: Disposal Department
7A Gwynns Mill Court
Owings Mills, MD 21117
- Return only detectors that say "ionization" on the back. Only USI Electric or Universal brand detectors accepted. Enclose a note that the smoke detector is being returned for recycling.