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Fire Extinguishers: Reuse, Recycle or Throw Away?

Fire Extinguishers: Reuse, Recycle or Throw Away?

Fire extinguishers form an essential element in any fire control strategy, and it’s important that you always have the right extinguishers available at your business premises.

But once they’ve been discharged, or they’ve reached the end of their useful life, what happens to them next?

This article will examine what you should do with your used and old fire extinguishers. We’ll also see how Scutum South East can make sure that you get both the maximum possible life out of them and ensure they are disposed of responsibly and legally when the time comes for them to be replaced.

Fire extinguishers reuse, recycle or throw away

Can you reuse fire extinguishers?

Any fire extinguisher that has been discharged can be used again, but it will need to be recharged first. This applies even if you’ve only used it very briefly to extinguish a small fire.

If you’ve had to discharge one of your extinguishers for any reason, just get in touch with the team at Scutum South East. We’ll send an engineer round as quickly as possible to assess whether recharge or replacement would be the best option, so that you’ll have all the protection you need once more.

Recharging used extinguishers is just one part of the extensive range of maintenance and servicing options available from our team. Regular maintenance will ensure your extinguishers stay fit for use for as long as possible, although at some point the time will come when you need to replace them. 

This might be because the contents have caused the metal to corrode, because accidental damage has rendered them inoperable, or just because they’re old (a well-maintained extinguisher should be good for 10 to 20 years’ service). Your maintenance engineer will be able to advise you when this needs to happen.

So what do you do with your old extinguishers then?

Can you recycle fire extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers are almost entirely recyclable once fully discharged. They are mostly made of metal, with other materials used in their construction such as plastics and rubber also being recyclable. Even the contents can usually be recycled in some form. 

However, you won’t be able to just leave them out with your old cardboard, tin cans and plastic bottles for your local council to collect.

Some larger recycling centres will take them off your hands, but not many businesses have the time to pack a member of staff off down to the local tip to get rid of an unwanted fire extinguisher.

Can you throw fire extinguishers away?

This is the big no-no! Fire extinguishers count as hazardous waste and should never be thrown away with general waste or in a skip. That’s because the contents are pressurised and often contain chemicals. If disposed of with general waste, they could easily be subject to large outside impacts or pressure that could cause them to explode.

Thankfully, Scutum South East offers a comprehensive fire extinguisher disposal service. When the time comes to replace your old extinguishers, take the responsible approach and call in the professionals. We can make sure that all your old fire extinguishers are disposed of safely and legally, whatever their contents and whatever their condition.

For all your fire extinguisher needs, from supply and installation to maintenance and disposal, get in touch with our team of experienced and expert advisers now. We work across South East England, including in and around London and Surrey.

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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.