Reader Question: Please can you tell me where I can safely dispose of a domestic smoke detector and possibly other electronics of this sort.
Since 2015, smoke detectors have been mandatory for all French homes but every so often they are likely to need to be replaced.
Smoke detectors are classed as electrical or electronic safety devices, which fall under the déchets d’équipements électriques et électroniques (DEEE) category. These appliances are subject to specific EU rules with regards to their disposal.
Their parts – which can contain chemicals that are harmful for the environment – need to be treated before they are thrown away. This means they should not be put in a normal bin.
Once the dangerous substances have been removed, much of the device can be recycled.
By law, bigger electrical appliance suppliers – with premises measuring more than 400m² – are obliged to accept DEEE devices which measure less than 25cm wide and process them for recycling without obliging the owner to buy any new goods.
A map containing details of the French shops which will take items – sometimes under specific conditions – can be found here.
In addition, you can normally take the smoke alarm batteries to any shop which sells these for disposal. This includes supermarkets, DIY and electrical stores, which often have collection points just inside the entrance.
Public recycling centres also collect used batteries and should have special bins or containers designed to this end. They may also accept the electrical items themselves, in bins specifically designed for electrical or electronic goods.
You can view a map of shops and other establishments which take batteries for recycling here.
Other DEEE items include telephones, hairdryers, washing machines, computers, printers, ink cartridges, lawn mowers, game consoles and television sets.