Valparaiso, IN – Smoke detectors save lives in Porter County but can be problematic for recycling.
In today’s retail market many smoke detectors contain small amounts of americium-241, a radioactive material that aids in detecting smoke.
“Smoke detectors can be really confusing for consumers. Smoke detectors containing americium-241 should not be placed in curbside trash. This chemical is considered radioactive and can seep into the ground. It’s a dangerous substance and very toxic for our environment,” said Keri Marrs Barron, Executive Director of Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.
The Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County has partnered with several area fire departments, and stations for county-wide smoke detector recycling collection.
“Across Porter County we’ve connected with many local fire departments to add ease with recycling smoke detectors. Porter County residents have several drop-off locations to choose amongst for smoke detector recycling,” said Keri Marrs Barron, Executive Director of Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.
Smoke detectors collected through this program are sent to Curie Environmental Services, where the americium-241 is separated and dispatched to designated waste facilities. Remaining plastic exteriors, and metals are recycled separately and diverted from local solid waste streams.
The Porter County Fire Association and the National Fire Protection Association suggest checking all smoke detectors every six months to ensure units are in solid working order. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
Common carbon monoxide detectors do not contain radioactive materials and can be recycled in the District’s electronics recycling program. Smoke detector batteries and carbon monoxide batteries can also be recycled in the District’s batteries recycling program.
For more information on Porter County smoke detector recycling locations, contact the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County at (219)-510-1124, or visit www.PorterCountyRecycling.org.