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I live in the United States and I have a non-working Kidde ionization smoke detector. I've read that these smoke detectors should be recycled because they contain some radioactive material. However, the Kidde website states:

IMPORTANT: Alarms and fire extinguishers should not be recycled.

Disposing of an alarm

Typically, alarms may be disposed of in your regular residential trash. Verify with your local municipality regarding disposal ordinances before disposing of an alarm.

When I searched on this topic, I also found conflicting information on the US Postal Service's website. They state that you should mail Kidde smoke detectors to the following address:

1016 Corporate Park Dr.
Mebane, NC 27302

So which source should I believe (USPS or Kidde)? Is there any other third parties that accept Kidde smoke detectors for recycling? Or should I just mail it to this address and hope it gets recycled?


I also noticed a similar question on this site, but they were asking about the environmental impact of throwing radioactive Kidde smoke detectors in the trash and not about where to properly recycle them:

What are the environmental effects of discarding radioactive smoke detectors?

In that question, they claim that local electronics recyclers will take the smoke detectors, but I don't think that mine will. The reason is that these are radioactive and not just plastic and wires to be recycled.

3

I contacted Kidde through Twitter, and they ultimately responded to me via e-mail. The document they sent (available here) is dated March 2017, so more recent than the data available on their website. Here are the steps you'll need to take in order to return your Kidde ionization smoke detectors to Kidde for disposal:

Confirm that your smoke detector is eligible for Kidde's disposal program

You'll need to gather the details below and send an e-mail to Kidde Product Support (gpccsproductsupport2 [at] kiddeus.com) for them to confirm eligibility:

  • The brand of smoke detector, which must be Kidde, Firex, Fyrnetics, or Edwards
  • The radioactivity rating, found on the label on the back of the alarm, which must be 1.0 microcuries or less
  • The model number, found on the back label
  • Confirm the alarm is fully intact (alarms in pieces cannot be accepted)
  • Confirm the battery is removed (note that this may not be possible for some types of 10-year-sealed products)
  • Your full contact information (phone, mailing address, and e-mail)

If in doubt regarding any of the above details, they recommend that you provide photos of the front and back of the alarm.

Ship the alarm to Kidde

After verifying your information and confirming eligibility, Kidde will provide a Return Authorization Number and address for shipping. It may take up to four weeks to hear back. You will need to pay the shipping costs yourself.

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I followed the above instructions (which I got from Kidde directly BEFORE finding this article), waited the "2 to 4 weeks" for a response and... nothing. No response either way. I then called another 800 number from their web site and was assured they would accept them back if they came in the mail marked disposal.

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