How to Dispose of Lightbulbs and 9 Other Hazardous Items

When in doubt, don’t toss it out — read this first
smoke detector Photo: arhendrix/Shutterstock
old stove
sharp bottles
cooking grease
insulin needles
broken lightbulb
expired medication
mercury thermometer
paint cans
smoke detector
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Old smoke alarms

Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years to make sure they’re in good working order, says Owen Davis, spokesman for the National Fire Protection Association. There are two types of smoke alarms, ionization and photoelectric, which use different technology. Ionization smoke alarms contain a small amount of radioactive material, so safe disposal is important. Check to see if your state’s radiation control program offers collection of expired smoke alarms or mail the alarm back to the manufacturer, the EPA recommends.

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