How to Dispose of Used Fire Extinguishers

If you have a used or expired fire extinguisher, please note that you can't just toss it in the trash. Fire extinguishers are pressurized and used to contain chemicals, and not throwing them properly can be dangerous. But don't worry because we've got you covered. In this post, we'll talk about how to dispose of used fire extinguishers safely and responsibly in five steps. 

Step 1: Check the Gauge and Label

check the gauge and label

First, check the pressure gauge on your fire extinguisher. If it's in the green, you might be able to use it. If not, you have to dispose of or recharge it, depending on whether you have portable or rechargeable ones.

Next, check the label for the expiration date. Remember, it's not safe to use an expired fire extinguisher because its chemical content has degraded, its pressure has reduced, and its nozzles might be clogged. All these factors render your fire extinguisher ineffective against fire. 

A fire extinguisher also has a shelf life. A well-maintained fire extinguisher can last 10 to 12 years, depending on the manufacturer and type. If you're unsure about anything related to your fire extinguisher, read the manual or contact the manufacturer for advice. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Step 2: Discharge the Extinguisher

discharge the extinguisher

Your fire extinguisher has to be empty before you throw it away. Here's how to make sure it is:

  • Take your fire extinguisher outside, away from people and animals. 
  • Point the nozzle at the ground and squeeze the lever. 
  • Hold it until nothing comes out. 

Step 3: Remove the Head

remove the head

Once the extinguisher is empty, remove its head. This part varies depending on the type of extinguisher, but you can usually unscrew it. Doing this ensures that no pressure remains inside your fire extinguisher. Be careful and make sure your fire extinguisher is empty before doing this step.

Step 4: Recycle the Metal

recycle the metal

Most fire extinguishers are made of metal, which is recyclable. Ask your local recycling center to see if they accept fire extinguishers. If they do, bring it to them with the head removed and any remaining parts disassembled. It's a small step that makes a huge difference in conserving the environment. 

Step 5: Dispose of Non-Recyclable Parts

dispose of non-recyclable parts

If your local recycling center doesn't accept fire extinguishers, or if there are parts that they can't recycle, find a hazardous waste disposal facility. 

Hazardous waste facilities follow strict guidelines for disposing of dangerous materials. It is the best option for components that can't be recycled.

Final Thoughts

Disposing of a fire extinguisher might seem tricky, but following these simple steps can make the process easy and safe. Whether you're recycling or using a hazardous waste facility, make sure your extinguisher is empty.

While we're on the topic of safety, having other tools aside from your fire extinguisher is a must. Getting a fire blanket, fire spray, and fire protection gloves ensures your loved ones' safety. Head on to Prepared Hero for reliable fire safety tools now!