Ionising Smoke Detector Disposal & Recycling

Eckert & Ziegler Environmental Services offer an environmentally friendly smoke detector recycling service.

Our purpose-built recycling facility has all the necessary equipment and expertise to safely dismantle smoke detectors, allowing each component to be recycled or re-used in compliance with all relevant regulations.

We can accept all types of radioactive smoke detectors, from any manufacturer, for separation and recycling / disposal.

Our radioactive waste disposal experts have an in-depth knowledge of the national and international regulations governing the recycling and disposal of ionising smoke detectors and will work with you to deliver a solution that is safe, cost effective and environmentally responsible.

First class service throughout. Very clear communication, all queries dealt with professionally. A real pleasure working with you.
17th December 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

The simple answer – yes.

In detail – the level of radioactivity present in an ionising smoke detector is virtually undetectable. Even if you stood next to one constantly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the radiation you would receive would be far less than the natural radiation you are exposed to through food and drink and the wider environment.

The majority of ionising smoke detectors contain Americium 241 (Am 241). The alpha particles emitted by Am 241 will not penetrate human skin, meaning Am 241is harmless outside the body.

In fact, because of the way they work, ionising smoke alarms are generally better at detecting dangerous fast-burning, smokeless fires. In contrast, photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more responsive to smouldering fires – slower burning fires that produce more smoke.

Radioactive smoke detectors should have a visible marking or label denoting the presence and activity (how much) of the radioactive substance:

As a private household you are permitted to dispose of your radioactive smoke alarm to household waste, however many local authorities would prefer that you remove the battery and take your smoke detector to your local household waste recycling centre.

No. Businesses such as landlords, local authorities and household recycling centres are not permitted to dispose of smoke detectors via normal refuse routes.

You must contact a specialist radioactive waste disposal organisation that can take the radioactive smoke detectors for recycling and/or disposal.

Eckert & Ziegler Environmental Services offers a service to collect and transport to our facility in compliance with all relevant regulations, prior to dismantling and recycling the relevant materials.

Contact us and we will be pleased to advise and assist you.

Yes. We work with smoke alarm manufacturers to dispose and/or recycle the radioactive components in all types of smoke detectors. Please contact us to discuss.

There are no facilities in the UK for recycling the radioactive components from Ionising smoke detectors, which is why many radioactive waste companies are only able to provide smoke detector disposal, rather than recycling of all components from smoke detectors.

At Eckert & Ziegler we have our own purpose-built recycling facility in Germany for the recovery of the radioactive materials, with all the necessary equipment and expertise to safely dismantle smoke detectors, allowing each component to be recycled or re-used.

For ionising smoke detectors to be recycled properly, the first task is to separate the waste electronic components (WEEE) from the plastic which can be recycled.

The radioactive Am-241 foils are dissolved and the Am-241 separated from the other materials; this allows all the materials, including the Am-241, to be either re-used or recycled.

Our professional team will guide you through the intricacies of ionising smoke detector disposal, identifying and delivering a solution that is safe, cost effective and environmentally responsible, whilst maintaining full compliance with all applicable regulations.

Smoke detectors that are not suitable for recycling are dismantled in the laboratory area of our secure UK facility.

The WEEE and plastic are recycled, and the radioactive foils consolidated and sent for specialist final disposal.

Organisations across the world value our service. Here’s why.

  • We are the leading radioactive waste management specialists in the UK. By cutting out the middle man, you benefit directly from our professional expertise, personal service and competitive pricing.
  • We have access to all the radioactive source disposal facilities in England that accept radioactive materials from commercial operators as well as our own recycling facilities in Germany and the Czech Republic.
  • We provide flexible nationwide collections using our own in-house staff and our own registered collection vehicles.
  • We often combine radioactive source collections, where time is not critical, allowing us to offer a better value disposal or recycling service.
  • We take on the risk of transporting and disposing of your radioactive material in the most cost effective and environmentally considerate way.
  • Our disposal services are provided to organisations across the UK & worldwide, in a broad range of industries including education, healthcare, oil & gas, nuclear, military and R&D.