Smoke Detector

Alternative ways to recycle
Illegal in Garbage & Drains
E-Waste Drop-Off Special Instructions

Ionization chamber and photoelectric smoke detectors are the two most common types of smoke detectors.

Ionization chamber smoke detectors contain a small amount of americium-241, a radioactive material.  Most  household hazardous waste collection facilities are not equipped to process these due to the radioactive material, so contact your manufacturer for a collection program.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Disposal Drop Off:  (No radiation is involved in photoelectric smoke detectors).


1. Los Angeles County special household hazardous waste collection events accept smoke alarms.  

MAIL-IN (fee):

2.  Check with the Manufacturer: The vast majority of smoke detectors are made by First Alert Corporation but others should have a recycling collection program, too.

  • Other brand names under First Alert are BRK and American Sensors. Call (800) 323-9005 to give them model number and to set up an account to get units shipped for disposal. It costs $1.00 per unit. Item must be an intact BRK or First Alert alarm.

3. Mail-in collection program:  Curie Environmental Services collects and recycles all brands of detectors for a fee.

Batteries Are Hazardous Waste

Remove batteries from the smoke detector because they are hazardous waste. Then dispose of the smoke detector separately. Find out how to dispose of batteries.

Toxic Symbol

Return Radioactive Detectors to Manufacturer

Ionization smoke detectors emit small amounts of radioactive material, and can be identified by their warning labels. Return these to the manufacturer by mail. Find out from the U.S. Postal Service how to return these detectors.

Photoelectric Detectors Are E-Waste

Photoelectric detectors will not have a warning label, so dispose of these detectors as e-waste.

Alternative Ways to Recycle

First Alert Disposal Program

First Alert will dispose of up to four ionization smoke detectors. These must be First Alert, BRK, Family Gard or Onelink brand. If you have more than four detectors, they will charge a small fee. Detectors are disposed of legally, and components are recycled when they are able to. Learn more about First Alert’s Disposal Program.

Recycle Your Smoke Detector

If you wish to recycle your old smoke detectors, there is one program that will do so, run by Curie Environmental Services. It costs as little as $8 plus shipping to recycle one old smoke detector.

Did You Know?

Safety Advantages of Different Detectors

Smoke detectors sense smoke and flame differently, which give them their own advantages. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that you have one of each type at your home. Ionization smoke detectors are the type that sense a fast-moving, flaming fire more quickly, while photoelectric detectors are more sensitive to slow, smoky fire.