Smoke Detectors Cannot Be Recycled in Madison

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 - 6:28am

Must Be Sent to Manufacturers or Put in Trash

The City of Madison's new smoke alarm ordinance has made most old smoke alarms obsolete. The first phase of the ordinance, which impacts multi-family dwellings went into effect on August 15th. The second phase, which will go into effect on August 15, 2010, will impact single-family homes.

"The new ordinance will mean that thousands of old smoke detectors will need to be replaced," Madison recycling coordinator said. "Unfortunately, there are no local options for recycling the old units. Residents and property owners who wish to recycle the old units must send them back to the manufacturers."

The First Alert Corporation and the Kidde Corporation make the vast majority of smoke detectors. Old detectors can be sent back to First Alert, Radioactive Waste Disposal, 780 McClure Rd, Aurora, IL 60504-2495. For information on First Alert Detectors call 1-800-323-9005. For Kidde information call 1-800-880-6788.

Many other smoke detectors are made by a Canadian firm called American Sensors. You can contact them at 1-800-387-4219 for information. Both First Alert and American Sensors sell detectors under many different brand names, and can dispose of any of them.

Most smoke detectors contain a minuet amount of Americium-241 a man-made radioactive metal. As long as the smoke dector is used as directed and the inner area is not opened it poses to radiation health risks to humans.

"We recommend that the smoke detectors be sent back for recycling," Dreckmann said. "Residents and property owners who do not wish to ship the smoke detectors back to the manufacturers can dispose of the old units in the regular trash."


  • George Dreckmann267-2626