Household smoke detectors

Smoke detectors can be one of two kinds: photoelectric or ionizing.
  • The ionizing variety contains a small amount of radioactive material, americium-241.
  • A smoke detector with an ionizing sensor will usually indicate on its back that it shouldn’t be disposed of in the regular trash.
  • Although they’re more expensive, you should consider purchasing the photoelectric variety to avoid future disposal problems.
Ionizing smoke detector procedures 
  1. Remove the battery from the smoke detector and manage separately.
  2. Return ionizing smoke detectors units to the manufacturer, which should be listed on the back of the unit, for proper long-term disposal.
  1. If the manufacturer is no longer in business or isn’t willing to accept the used detector, wrap the smoke detector in several layers of newspaper to prevent breakage. 
  2. Place the wrapped smoke detector in your trash.