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Smoke & carbon monoxide detector

Disposal options

Household smoke & carbon monoxide detectors may be placed in household trash, regardless of type.

If the batteries are not alkaline (e.g. AA, AAA), they may be banned from the trash. Remove batteries prior to disposing of the detector, and drop them off at an appropriate location. See battery disposal information and drop-off locations. (If the battery cannot be removed, bring the whole unit to the CSWD Environmental Depot.)

Curie Environmental Services will recycle ionization smoke detectors (fees apply).

Businesses: Call the Vermont Environmental Assistance Division in Waterbury at 802-249-5260 or 800-974-9559.


Household trash fees apply.

Contact Curie Environmental Services for processing fees.


There are two main types of smoke detectors:

  • Photoelectric smoke detectors detect smoke using light source installed within the unit.
  • Ionization smoke detectors detect smoke using a very small amount of radioactive isotope americium-241.

Dual-sensor detectors use both methods of detection.

While ionization (and dual-sensor) smoke detectors do emit a small amount of radiation, they have been deemed safe by multiple national and international atomic and nuclear commissions.

According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “A 2001 NRC study found people with two of these units in their homes receive less than 0.002 millirems of radiation dose each year. That dose can be compared to the “background radiation” that people receive from space and the earth. An East Coast resident receives that dose in about 12 hours, a Denver resident in three.”