How To Dispose Of Fire Extinguishers & Recycle Properly

Fire extinguishers should be disposed at a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility, a local fire department, or a recycling center. The disposal method depends on whether your extinguisher is full or empty.

Fire Extinguisher Disposal Methods

Full Extinguisher Disposal

  • Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHW): Research local facilities that accept hazardous waste, including expired fire extinguishers, by doing an Internet search for “hazardous waste disposal near me”. Then follow their specific guidelines for drop-off or collection.
  • Contact Your Local Fire Department: Many fire departments have programs specifically designed to collect old and expired fire extinguishers. They have the expertise and equipment for proper disposing and handling them safely.

Empty Extinguisher Disposal

  • Safe Depressurization: Never attempt to puncture a pressurized fire extinguisher! Consult the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for specific instructions on safe depressurization procedures for your extinguisher model.
  • Empty Verification: Once depressurized, visually confirm the extinguisher is empty by removing the extinguisher head.
  • Recycle the Metal Shell (Check First): The metal shell of an empty extinguisher should be recyclable. However, contact your local recycling facility first to confirm if they accept empty fire extinguisher canisters. Some facilities might have specific requirements for these items.

Can You Throw a Fire Extinguisher In the Trash?

If recycling is not available, you can throw away an empty fire extinguisher in your regular household trash. However, this should be done as a last resort. Even if empty, the extinguisher might still contain residual pressure or trace amounts of chemicals that can pose a potential puncture risk during collection or environmental risk.

Alternatives to Disposal

Depending on the type of extinguisher, local regulations, and its condition, some fire extinguisher companies might offer servicing and refilling options for non-expired or slightly damaged extinguishers.

As explained in our other guide on where to recharge a fire extinguisher, some fire departments offer fire extinguisher refill services or can recommend qualified companies in your area. Also, many fire extinguisher manufacturers have a locator tool on their website to help you find authorized service providers for their brand.

You may want to consider that alternative before you dispose of an old fire extinguisher or recycle an extinguisher canister because it can be a more cost-effective solution if your extinguisher is still in good shape.


By following these guidelines, you can ensure the safe and responsible disposal of a fire extinguisher. Proper disposal and recycling protect both you and the environment.

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