(Photo courtesy City of Campbell River)

British Columbians encouraged to test household smoke alarms and recycle old ones

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 107,000 alarms from ending up in landfills

Product Care Recycling is encouraging all British Columbians to not only test their smoke alarms to ensure that they’re working but also properly recycle the old ones.

Product Care Recycling, which has been operating since 1994, provides free recycling locations for consumers to bring products such as paint, household hazardous waste, lights and old smoke alarms.

“Many smoke and carbon monoxide alarms utilize technology that contains a small amount of radioactive material,” said Wayne Chisholm, the organization’s service and logistics manager.

“It’s important to recycle your old alarms to prevent these materials from contaminating our soil and waterways.”

There are several alarm products that can be recycled including smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and combination alarms.

Once an alarm is dropped off at one of the 200 Product Care recycling locations in B.C., it’s transported to the organization’s recycling facility in Delta for sorting.

Alarms are then separated into their component parts. This consists of metals and plastics, which are recycled and used in new products.

Meanwhile, radioactive cells are broken down and then safely removed and securely stored at a licensed radioactive waste facility.

Chisholm suggests that British Columbians test their smoke alarms monthly and replace them every 10 years to ensure they are functioning properly.

Smoke alarms can reduce the likelihood of dying in a house fire by 50 per cent when in good, working condition, according to the B.C. government.

Product Care has a free drop-off system and people can use their online directory to find the nearest location.

For more information on how to protect your loved ones from fires, visit the Fire Prevention Week website or read Product Care’s smoke alarm blog post.

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