Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Regulated Materials

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Management of Waste Smoke Detectors

This guidance document is prepared by MnDOT personnel and is intended only for use on MnDOT projects, including partnership projects, and MnDOT Maintenance Operations.

MnDOT has prepared this guidance document to provide its internal procedures and requirements for work performed on MnDOT rights of way, including MnDOT-owned facilities.

This document should not be construed as a full description of all regulations pertaining to the subject matter. Contact the Regulated Materials Unit in the MnDOT Office of Environmental Stewardship for additional information or legal requirements.

General Requirements

  • Waste Smoke Detectors cannot be placed in the trash.
  • If the detector contains radioactive material, it is required by law to have a warning label on the body of the detector. Look for the label on the back of the detector in the location of the mounting base.
  • The waste smoke detectors must be generated from MnDOT maintenance or construction activities. Waste smoke detectors must not be accepted from home, public, or private parties.

Non-Radioactive Smoke Detectors

Non-radioactive smoke detectors can be managed with MnDOT’s other electronic waste. Guidance for electronic waste. Follow the procedure under the “Electronic” link.

Radioactive Smoke Detectors

Following are options for managing waste smoke detectors that contain radioactive materials:

  • Smoke detectors containing radioactive material should be returned to the manufacturer for recycling. Include a note to the manufacturer indicating the detector is a waste containing radioactive material to be disposed of properly.
  • If the manufacturer cannot be found, MnDOT approved electronic recyclers can take radioactive smoke detectors in quantities less than 25.
    • Waste radioactive smoke detectors must be managed separate from other electronic waste - comingling is not allowed.
    • The electronic recycler must have knowledge of managing smoke detectors with a radiation source prior to accepting the waste detectors. This knowledge can be obtained by e-mail or verbal notification followed by a confirmation e-mail for documentation.
    • Electronic Recyclers: Follow the procedure under the “Electronic” link.


  • A sturdy cardboard box is sufficient to store waste smoke detectors.
  • Label the storage container in a manner to identify type of waste, such as, “Smoke Alarms Containing Radiation Source for Recycling”.
  • Keep storage container in a designated storage location, out of the outside elements.
  • Inspect storage area and container regularly for inadequate packaging, rips, spillage, etc. Documentation of inspections is not required

Transport and record keeping

  • Records must be kept on quantities generated that document where the waste was recycled or disposed of.
  • No reporting requirements to the MPCA are required outside the seven county metro area.
  • Waste smoke detectors can be transported in MnDOT vehicles.
  • Follow waste handling guidance.

Please contact the Regulated Materials Unit for further assistance.