How to dispose of old fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers come in a variety of types and can save lives when used correctly. Once their usefulness has ended, however, care must be taken in how the extinguishers are disposed of. Some fire extinguishers can be recycled while others cannot.

Different disposal methods are used depending on whether the extinguisher is a small aerosol extinguisher, a gas extinguisher or a dry chemical extinguisher. Regardless of the type of fire extinguisher that you have in your home, proper disposal should only take a few minutes.

Refer to instructions on the aerosol fire extinguisher can to learn the proper way in which to remove any remaining aerosol gas in the extinguisher.

Contact your waste management service to find out whether any special precautions should be taken when disposing of aerosol cans.

Expunge the remaining gas from the can. This will most likely be done by turning the can upside-down and depressing the release button until no more gas is released.

Throw the empty fire extenguisher can away or otherwise dispose of it as you would any other aerosol can.

Contact your local fire brigade or waste management service to see if they offer recycling services for old fire extinguishers. If they do, find out whether they offer at-home pickup or if you will have to bring the extinguisher to a processing centre.

Contact fire extinguisher distribution companies that sell and recycle fire extinguishers if you are unable to find a recycling service through the fire brigade or waste management. Again, find out whether they offer at-home pickup or if you will have to deliver the extinguisher.

Press the release lever in a well-ventilated area outdoors to make sure that the fire extinguisher is completely empty.

Deliver or allow the fire extinguisher to be picked up. The recycling centre will remove the nozzle unit from the extinguisher and will recycle the main cylinder.

Contact your solid waste management service and find out whether they have restrictions on dry chemical fire extinguishers being disposed of in the trash. If they do, ask to see if they can recommend a disposal service that handles dry chemical extinguishers.

Contact fire extinguisher distribution companies that sell and dispose of fire extinguishers if you are unable to throw your extinguisher away and can't get a recommendation from your waste management service. Find out specifically whether they offer disposal of dry chemical extinguishers, as these cannot be recycled.

Depress the release valve on the extinguisher in a well-ventilated area outdoors that is away from where children or animals. Make sure that the extinguisher is completely depressurised.

Place the extinguisher unit in the trash if there are no restrictions against doing so. If you are not allowed to throw the extinguisher away, contact an extinguisher service that offers dry chemical extinguisher disposal and arrange for the extinguisher to be picked up or dropped off.