EXIT signs that are not wired for power and glow in the dark often contain a radioactive gas called tritium. These signs do not require batteries or electricity and can be installed anywhere it is difficult to utilize traditional electric exit signs. Tritium exit signs — also known as nuclear exit signs or self luminous exit signs — provide an important safety function by ensuring exits stay illuminated even during emergencies and power outages. Per regulatory requirements, spent nuclear exit signs containing tritium must be managed properly because a damaged or improperly disposed of tritium sign could cause contamination requiring an expensive cleanup.

Get a Quote to Recycle Tritium Exit Signs Call (855) EARTH-55

At EZ on the Earth, we make it easy to manage your spent tritium exit signs. We offer the most comprehensive tritium exit sign service available. We will manage the approval process and provide you with proper kits for your tritium exit signs. EZ on the Earth manages the entire process including all upfront approval paperwork, supplying containers, packaging material, paperwork, notification letters, and prepaid return shipping labels.

EZ on the Earth Tritium Exit Sign Recycling 3-Step Process


Once you tell us how many tritium exit signs you will be recycling, we will send you a quote confirming the price to recycle your exit signs and a worksheet to complete.


On the worksheet, you provide information from the label on each tritium exit sign, and we will apply for an approval number for each shipment of your exit signs.

Once we receive an approval number for your exit signs, we will send a recycling kit that will include the following items:

  • A cardboard box (or boxes) sized for the number of tritium signs you will be shipping (maximum of ten signs per container).
  • Each box will include all proper labeling including a prepaid return shipping label addressed to the processing facility.
  • Copies of the approval forms to be included in the containers.
  • Copies of the container inventory list.
  • A plastic liner for the box as well as cardboard separators and packing materials.
  • Notification letters you can use for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and your state.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) information for your records.


Carefully package your tritium signs per the included instructions. Once all exit signs are property packaged, seal the container, and call FedEx Ground for pick up. Send the included notification forms to the NRC and your State, and keep the documents for your record.

More on the use of Tritium in Exit Signs

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen also known as 3H or H-3.  The gas is contained in sealed glass tubes lined with a light-emitting compound inside of the exit signs. The low-energy beta radiation given off by the tritium causes the lining to glow. This relatively mild type of radiation cannot penetrate a sheet of paper or clothing and if inhaled, it leaves the body relatively quickly.  Tritium gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and is lighter than air.

Do my exit signs contain Tritium?

There are a couple ways to determine if your EXIT signs contains tritium.  If the word EXIT glows green or red when the lights the sign may contain tritium.  A permanent warning label is affixed to tritium containing signs that mentions tritium, 3H or H-3; displays the three-bladed radiation warning symbol; and states “Caution-Radioactive Materials.”  When all four letters in EXIT are fully lit, the sign is working properly. If not, the sign may have reached the end of its working life, or it might be damaged.

Tritium EXIT signs are used in many types of building throughout the country, including private and public office buildings, retails stores, schools, theaters, and churches. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) estimates there are more than 2 million EXIT signs containing tritium in use in the United States.

Regulatory Requirements for Tritium Exit Signs

Distributors and manufacturers of tritium EXIT signs are “specific licensees,” meaning they must apply for and receive a radioactive materials license from the NRC or an Agreement State. Facilities that use tritium EXIT signs are considered “general licensees”, meaning they do not need a specific license to use the signs. The signs, considered “generally licensed devices”, are designed to be inherently safe so they can be used without the need for radiation training.

However, tritium exit signs are still subject to certain regulatory requirements. Most important is the requirement for proper disposal, because a damaged or improperly disposed of sign could contaminate the immediate area and require expensive cleanup. Manufacturers and distributors must notify purchasers of the requirements for generally licensed devices. The general licensee must put one person in charge of meeting those requirements. The general licensee must also report any changes affecting a device or the person responsible for it. General licensees may be inspected by the NRC or an Agreement State and may face penalties for violating the regulations.