Recycling Challenge: Fire Extinguishers

story by Samantha WittchenFACT: Fire extinguishers should be inspected annually to make sure they’re charged properly and in working order. Every six years, an extinguisher must be taken apart, examined and recharged.
PROBLEM: Fire extinguishers in the U.S. are often filled with Halon 1211, the trade name for an ozone depleting gas that is hazardous to breathe. When empty, fire extinguishers are completely recyclable since the bodies are made of steel. Empty canisters can also be recharged. When full, they’re treated as hazardous waste.

SOLUTION: The Philadelphia Streets Department collects fire extinguishers for proper disposal at their Household Hazardous Waste events. The next event is September 22 at the 3rd District Highway Yard (22nd and York Streets). For a full list of upcoming events, visit philadelphiastreets.com.
 
If your fire extinguisher is empty, you can have it recharged. Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Fire Protection Co. in West Philadelphia (5111 Chestnut St., 215-472-1000) recharges fire extinguishers, as does Schweizer Fire Protection Co. in Kensington (2516 Frankford Ave., 215-634-0857). If you’re not interested in having your extinguisher recharged and want to make sure it’s recycled, you can take it to a ferrous scrap metal recycler. S.D. Richman Sons, located in Port Richmond (2435 Wheatsheaf Ln., 215-535-5100), allows regular passenger vehicles into their facility, so they’re a good option for residents. Just make sure you remove the spraying head first (which is generally made of brass and plastic) to show that the canister is truly empty.  
 
Fire extinguishers should be inspected annually to make sure they’re charged properly and in working order. Every six years, an extinguisher must be taken apart, examined and recharged.Fire extinguishers in the U.S. are often filled with Halon 1211, the trade name for an ozone depleting gas that is hazardous to breathe. When empty, fire extinguishers are completely recyclable since the bodies are made of steel. Empty canisters can also be recharged. When full, they’re treated as hazardous waste.     
 
The Philadelphia Streets Department collects fire extinguishers for proper disposal at their Household Hazardous Waste events. The next event is September 22 at the 3rd District Highway Yard (22nd and York Streets). For a full list of upcoming events, visit philadelphiastreets.com.