Re: [eppnet] A Smoke Detector response

From: Roger Guttentag (
Date: Wed Aug 09 2000 - 11:19:00 EDT

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    Dear Steve, EPPNet and other lists:

    The text provided by Steve in his message below appears to be originally
    from the Consumer Recycling Guide - Recycling Obscure Materials
    ( One of the first, and
    most important, rules regarding Internet based information is to always
    confirm the accuracy of any Net-based information. I called the First Alert
    consumer affairs number and learned the following:

    1. The correct mailing address is:

        First Alert
        ATT: Disposal
        3920 Enterprise Court
        Aurora, IL 60504

    2. The statement in Steve's message, "They can dispose of any brand.", can
    be easily misunderstood even though it does refer to First Alert brands in
    the previous sentence. To restate this information - First Alert will only
    accept for recycling smoke detectors manufactured under its brand name or
    related brands such as BRK. A key clue to determining if the detector is an
    acceptable brand is if the manufacturer address is Aurora, IL. When in
    doubt, always call the telephone number (if provided) on the product
    packaging. I was told that non-acceptable brands will be refused and
    returned to the sender.

    3. The plastic casing is recycled. The radioactive material in the detector
    will be recovered and sent to a company that handles low level radiactive
    materials. The representative who provided this information was not certain
    what was done with this material.

    4. The two service representatives I spoke to stated that information on how
    to recycle First Alert smoke detectors is printed on the package and on the
    enclosed user manual. I just recently purchased a First Alert Double Sensor
    and could not find this information in either location. I would be
    interested in knowing if anyone can find how-to-recycl-this-product
    information on any First Alert smoke detector product package or manual.

    5. There is no information on detector product recycling at the First Alert
    web site ( Curiously, I could not find any
    e-mail or telephone contact info either. Again, I was told by the First
    altert service representatives I spoke to that the web site was being
    redesigned and they believed this information would be posted. I strongly
    suggested that this information be made available. I would suggest as well
    that any person or organization interested in smoke detector recycling
    should contact the First Alert consumer telephone number (1-800-323-9005)
    and encourage them to promote better public information on their product
    recycling program.


    Roger M. Guttentag

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Steve Leuty <>
    To: Environmentally-preferable products procurement
    Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2000 8:30 AM
    Subject: [eppnet] A Smoke Detector response

    Here's a response from a colleague who coordinates our local Household
    Hazardous Waste Program:

    Send unwanted smoke detectors to the manufacturer. Most detectors are made
    by First Alert Corporation (Mailing address: First Alert, Radioactive Waste
    Disposal, 780 McClure Rd, Aurora IL 60504-2495; 800-323-9005). Many other
    detectors are made by a Canadian firm called American Sensors
    (800-387-4219). Both companies sell detectors under many different brand
    names. They can dispose of any brand. Send detectors by surface mail or UPS

    >>> "Virginia Lipscomb" <> 08/08/00 08:04AM >>>
    I recently got a question about what to do with old smoke detectors. Does
    anyone know if these are being recycled?

    Virginia Lipscomb
    Maryland Department of the Environment
    Planning and Recycling Division - WAS
    2500 Broening Highway
    Baltimore MD 21224
    410-631-3314 Fax 410-631-3321

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