Smoke detectors have long posed a challenge for disposal, because many use small amounts of radioactive material, americium-241, to detect smoke. Though top environmental and industry experts indicate that it is safe to dispose of smoke detectors in residential trash, we partner with a number of fire and EMS departments to offer our residents the opportunity to recycle unwanted detectors. Explore the map below to find nearby Porter County smoke detector recycling locations. You can also recycle smoke detectors at our Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) events.
Smoke Detector Recycling Locations
We will send unwanted detectors collected through this program to Curie Environmental Services, where the americium-124 will be segregated and sent to a special waste fill. The hard plastic case and remaining metals will all be recycled and diverted from the solid waste stream.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says smoke detectors do not pose a health threat as long as they are not tampered with and used as directed.
Carbon monoxide detectors do not contain radioactivity and can be recycled in Porter County Recycling’s regular electronics recycling program.
The Porter County Fire Association and the National Fire Protection Association recommend checking all smoke detectors every six months to ensure they are in working order. They also recommend replacing smoke detectors every 10 years. Residents should contact their local fire departments with any questions or visit nfpa.org.