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Fire Extinguisher Disposal

Getting rid of old BCF extinguishers

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Broken Prop05/10/2017 15:35:00
582 forum posts
1 photos

Over the years I have accumulated a number of BCF fire extinguishers in the workshop, (mainly because I have never had to use one, thank goodness).

Needless to say that through neglect on my part the powder contents have solidified and I understand that the extinguishers will no longer work even though they may still be fully gassed.

The question is, how can I dispose of them safely? Any advice would be gratefully received.


kevin b05/10/2017 16:16:23
1590 forum posts
165 photos

I haven't got a clue. Ours are under contract, so we don't have the problem.

Have you tried to Google Fire extinguisher disposal ?

That would be my first move.

Mike T05/10/2017 16:43:16
392 forum posts
28 photos

My gut reaction is Local Authority recycling depot. Check with the council first and if they say no or quibble, take them anyway, but drop them off surreptitiously...

Martin Gay05/10/2017 17:02:44
55 forum posts
9 photos
How about taking them to your local fire station. At the very least, they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Gary Manuel05/10/2017 17:16:18
1816 forum posts
1507 photos

I took an old Halon (wish we could still buy them) fire extinguisher to my local recycling centre and asked how to dispose of it.

"Oh no, we can't take that" I was told. "You'll have to ring the council and arrange for them to deal with it". "There will be a charge though".

"But it's empty" I said, showing them that pulling the trigger had no effect and it had no weight to it. "That doesn't matter, we can't take it".

I took it home, put it in a plastic bag and dropped it off in the "not suitable for recycling" skip the next time I went. Very environmentally friendly!

Martin Whybrow05/10/2017 17:51:04
884 forum posts
33 photos

Pete, do you mean BCF or powder? BCF is a halon, so disposal is very different.

The powder is relatively harmless as it's either ammonium phosphate, which is a fertiliser, or potassium or sodium bicarbonate. If it's the type with a gauge, it's a stored pressure extinguisher so needs to be fired to make it safe; if there's no gauge, it will be a cartridge type which can be opened easily (the head assembly screws off), these usually have a wider neck and will have no sign of a gas fill valve. With the cartridge type, you could tip out the powder into the bin, reassemble the extinguisher and fire it in safety.

Halon is a very tricky substance to deal with owing to ozone depleting chemical regulations.

Alternatively, let the local fire brigade set it off for you!

Cuban805/10/2017 18:01:21
2404 forum posts
9 photos

The fiasco with the extinguisher reminds me of the time when I took a gallon of used motor oil to the dump and duly poured it into the large tank provided to take it. When I asked one of the blokes what I should do with the now empty plastic container, I was told that I couldn't put it with the plastic recyclables as it was contaminated with oil and they couldn't deal with it.

Edited By Cuban8 on 05/10/2017 18:03:07

Engine Doctor13/11/2017 15:16:47
2198 forum posts
20 photos

Our tip used to have a bin next to the oil container for the "contaminated" cans last time I went the bin was gone and was told to throw can in the land fill rubbish ! Simmilarly I used to buy my engine oil in 20 liter drums and put the old oil in an empty 20 liter drum to save keep going to the tip . Jobs worth recycling attendant said when half of it was poured "you cant empty that into waste oil thats trade oil " ? The worlds gone mad !!!

Did you find a way to dispose of your old extinguishers?

Stuart Z13/11/2017 16:56:42
358 forum posts


I had/ve this problem. I tried the Fire Station and they sent me to the council tip. Council tip said, “No way” so I still have the extinguisher albeit many years old now. Thinking of ‘phoning’ the Council?

This is part of the whole problem that leads to “fly-tipping”.


RC Plane Flyer13/11/2017 18:42:06
582 forum posts
22 photos

How about looking up a local Fire Extinguisher service company ( not a big national ) and ask if they will take it off your hands

cymaz13/11/2017 19:11:29
8391 forum posts
1156 photos

You you may have done this already but I typed in recycling fire extinguishers and came up with THIS

Stuart Z13/11/2017 21:13:42
358 forum posts

Thanks Cymaz, but my refuse people were adamant they wouldn’t take it.

Chances are it is still useable so not too fussed, I have a new one standing next to it.


onetenor13/11/2017 21:53:10
1889 forum posts

I see lots in scrapyards I don't know how they got there .

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