Smoke Detector Recycling
Smoke Detectors are only managed in our EZ on the Earth Division in kits that contain 3 detectors up to kits that contain 150 detectors.
Ionization smoke alarms include a chamber containing the mildly radioactive material Americium 241 incorporated into a gold matrix. Because of the long half-life of Americium 241, the amount of radioactive material in the smoke alarm at the end of its certified useful life will be about the same as when you bought it.
Any smoke alarm that contains radioactive material should contain a notice on the packaging, For example, a typical package labeling might read: “This product is designed to detect products of combustion using ionization technology. It contains 0.9 micocurie of Americium 241, a radioactive material”. “Distributed under US NRC License no. XXXXXX. Manufactured in compliance with U.S. NRC safety criteria in 10 CFR 32”.
Photoelectric smoke detectors and ionization smoke alarms also contain a number of materials that are best handled by commercial recycling facilities. Both types of smoke detectors contain plastic and electronic circuit boards and in some cases batteries (alkaline or lithium).
All smoke detectors for EZ on the earth are recycled through the EZ on the Earth division. EZ on the Earth, a division of Lighting Resources, offers recycle disposal kits as large as 28 gallons to manage larger quantities of smoke detectors containing Americium 241. Each recycle kit contains everything you need to properly manage your spent smoke detectors that contain Americium 241.
Government Requirements for Smoke Detector Disposal
Americium-241 is a man-made radioactive material that was discovered by scientists working on the Atomic Bomb Manhattan Project during World War II. Americium-241 is a by-product of the nuclear fuels process, and thus the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sets requirements for the production and use of Americium-241. The NRC maintains a list of licensees under 10 CFR Part 32 – Specific domestic licenses to manufacture or transfer certain items containing by product material.