How To Dispose Of Empty Fire Extinguishers – Step By Step

Fire extinguishers come in different forms and can save lives if used in the correct manner. But once used completely, considerations must be taken when they are being disposed of. Some empty fire extinguishers can be recycled, while others can not. Different methods of disposal are used depending on whether the extinguisher is a small aerosol, a gas, or a dry chemical powder. Regardless of the type of fire extinguisher, you have at home, getting rid of it should be a matter of minutes. Here are some steps to dispose of your empty fire extinguishers.

Step 1

Check the instructions on the empty fire extinguisher for a proper way to remove any remaining gas.

Step 2

Eject the remaining gas from the can. This is achieved by turning the can upside down and pressing the nozzle until there is no more gas inside. Press the release lever, in an outdoor ventilated area, to make sure the extinguisher is empty.

Step 3

Contact your local fire department or waste management service to find out if they offer recycling services for old fire extinguishers. If they do, find out if they have a pickup service and if not you should take it on your own to the processing center.

Step 4

If you cannot find a recycling service through the fire department or the waste service, contact the distribution companies that sell and recycle empty fire extinguishers. Again, find out if they offer to pick up the fire extinguisher from your home or else, you should take it with you. They will recycle or dispose of the empty fire extinguishers for you.


Moreover, recycling is more appropriate to do, as it is ecofriendly. Recycling is now a major challenge for modern societies. It is important to develop extinguishers that have become obsolete to give them a new life. A responsible approach is essential when we see the various messes that our consumer societies continue to generate.

Each year, thousands of empty fire extinguishers are replaced because of their age. In fact, the lifespan of a fire extinguisher is 10 to 20 years, depending on the model. And as soon as the device is activated, it must be refilled or even renewed.

We can hope for technological advances in extinguishing agents. Soon, we can expect to have completely ecological and biodegradable extinguishing agents. This will be a major step forward towards their recycling which is a pain in the neck for the consumers.

Treatment Process

One should always remember that it is inappropriate to throw your old empty fire extinguishers anywhere as common waste, as it requires appropriate treatment. In fact, the extinguishing agents in the extinguishers are harmful to the environment. They must be handled by approved professionals in the treatment of this special waste.

In a treatment center, the extinguisher is reprocessed to cut the various additives. As for an ABC powder, it can be used as an element for the constitution of chemical fertilizers. The gas expelling the extinguishing agent is also just as harmful, so it must be treated separately.

Depending on its composition, each element of the extinguisher is valued (lance, hose, and handle) and can also be recycled. Once the metal tank is emptied of its contents, it will be crushed and used as a raw material for the construction of new fire extinguishers.

Other Uses of Empty Tanks

Some artists are very fond of empty fire extinguisher tanks as they serve a basis for producing various aesthetic works.

Empty fire extinguisher tanks can also be used as lampshades or as boxes for placing speakers.

Some DIY enthusiasts even use empty fire extinguishers to tune their cars using it as an exhaust!

Here is our recommendation if you’re looking to buy a brand new fire extinguisher.