Some materials can be disposed of easily. Others, however, require more specific waste management procedures to ensure they’re disposed of safely. This can include materials that are toxic (or that contained toxic materials), pressurized, or can otherwise harm the environment.
When a fire extinguisher is empty, it needs to be disposed of properly. When doing this, make sure you dispose of the fire extinguisher in the proper way by following these steps:
1. Disconnect The Hose From The Fire Extinguisher
After you have emptied your fire extinguisher, there should be a hose attached to the top of the cylinder that holds pressure for use. This hose is connected to another hose on the side that helps keep pressure inside the container when engaged. Be sure to disconnect both hoses from their respective connectors after removing any caps or locks securing them into place, and set them aside for disposal. You can dispose of these hoses with regular waste management procedures since they are non-hazardous materials (unless there is still pressurized gas in the extinguisher, in which case you should dispose of them as hazardous waste).
2. Remove The Discharge Nozzle
The discharge nozzle is the small, pointed end of the fire extinguisher that was used to expel the pressurized gas and extinguish flames. Carefully remove it from the top of the container by unscrewing it counter-clockwise. There is usually a seal around the nozzle that will come off with it, so be careful not to lose it. The discharge nozzle can be discarded normally.
3. Release Any Remaining Pressure In The Cylinder
Before disposing of your fire extinguisher, release any remaining pressure inside the cylinder. Do this by firmly pressing and holding the push-button on the top valve for two minutes. This will relieve all pressure inside of the cylinder, allowing it to be disposed of easily without any additional steps.
4. Dispose Of The Fire Extinguisher
Once your fire extinguisher has been drained of all pressure, you are ready to dispose of it. There are hazardous waste disposal procedures in place if there is still pressurized gas left in the container, so do not dispose of it with regular garbage pickup. If there was no residual pressure or anything hazardous inside, dispose of it through regular waste management procedures according to local laws and regulations.
Keeping your community safe is everyone’s responsibility, and properly disposing of a fire extinguisher is one way to do your part. Be sure to follow the steps above when your extinguisher is emptied so that you dispose of it in the safest way possible. For more information on waste management and how to dispose of hazardous materials, contact your local waste management department or visit their website.