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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.

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UPDATE: Kidde's website now recommends disposing of alarms locally. The date on the website, September 2019, is later than when I wrote the answer below after contacting them. While it may still be possible to send them an alarm for disposal, based on the experience of two others, it seems they may have ended this program. But I'll leave the answer intact just in case.


I contacted Kidde through Twitter, and they ultimately responded to me via e-mail. The document they sent 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 contact Kidde Product Support (gpccsproductsupport2 [at] kiddeus.com or 800-880-6788) 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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  • Probably we just pay the shipping cost and let them do what they described in the website – jclin Jan 16 at 21:46
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The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission advises consumers to "participate in municipal recycling programs for these devices" or "contact and return their smoke detector to its manufacturer for disposal". And the Product Care Association of Canada explains the importance of recycling detectors along with recycling instructions for just one of the provinces in Canada.

It looks like many jurisdictions do not have recycling programs for smoke detectors, whether Kidde brand or otherwise. If your local recycler doesn't accept smoke alarms, there doesn't seem to be any other option than disposal into a landfill.

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I just called them (after being hung up on) and they said if the detector is at its end of life, just throw it away. So much for our environment! Thanks for nothing, Kidde!

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  • 1
    Welcome to the Sustainability site on Stack Exchange! Thank you for deciding to come here and share your experience with calling Kidde. It would be ideal if they provided you a better answer about recycling, but any answer they give is still worth sharing here. Please also be mindful that civility is valued here and the tone of your answer could be more neutral. – Nic Mar 13 at 0:47

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