make money: recycling old extinguisher
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Can You Recycle Fire Extinguishers For Money? (If YES, Does It Worth It?)

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This might be true for most reusable items such as clothes or ornaments. But what about one man’s old, outdated fire extinguisher? Can it be recycled for money?

You can’t recycle fire extinguishers for money. Recycling them is an expensive and time-consuming process that is not profitable for companies, and they cannot pay users for bringing in old fire extinguishers. However, you can make money by selling antique, vintage fire extinguishers, to collectors on eBay or similar websites.

If you too have an old fire extinguisher that you need to dispose of, then keep reading! I’ve covered all the details about recycling fire extinguishers and getting paid for old vintage ones in this article.

Can You Recycle Fire Extinguishers And Get Paid? 

Unfortunately, you can’t recycle old fire extinguishers and get paid for them. After conducting a thorough web and market research, I could not find a company that pays sellers for used fire extinguishers.

However, if you have any leads of a recycling company in the States that pays for recycling old fire extinguishers, feel free to share them in the comments for other users!

Recycling fire extinguishers is a complicated task that requires a lot of time and effort.

Firstly, the extinguishers must be safely dismantled, and the hazardous waste needs to be separated from the non-hazardous ones.

Then, recycling the steel, copper, etc., is also a time-consuming and expensive process. So, this could, potentially, cost a company thousands of dollars on recycling fire extinguishers alone every month!

Can You Recycle Fire Extinguishers For Money

Since the recycling process isn’t cost-effective, it’s not beneficial for a company to increase costs by paying sellers for their old fire extinguishers! It would only result in an increase in expenditure with no profit.

Fortunately, there’s still one way you can make money out of fire extinguishers, provided they are pretty old. Antique and vintage ones sell from hundreds to thousands of dollars online!

So, if you have an old fire extinguisher that’s been lying around for decades, you could sell it online and make some money.

Antique or Vintage Fire Extinguishers: Type of Models You Can Make Money From

You may have some cool-looking fire extinguishers with stunning designs from your grandfather’s time just lying around in the basement or attic. Have you ever wondered – are old fire extinguishers worth any money? After all, most antique and vintage items that are popular among collectors sell for a large sum these days!

Antique or Vintage Fire Extinguishers: Type of Models You Can Make Money From
Photo Credit – Ebay (Banzark).

Antique and vintage fire extinguishers are prized possessions that can sell for hundreds of dollars! Learn how you can value your fire extinguisher.

Online marketplace users are frequently on the hunt for new vintage canisters to add to their collections.

Antique fire extinguishers have a rich history. Vintage fire extinguishers can be a gold mine, with some retailing for $1300 or more! The value of these artifacts is based on their demand, condition, aesthetics, and scarcity.

Their luxurious brass and copper casings often catch the eye of any collector with an interest in aesthetics and beautiful items.

Moreover, unlike today’s simplistic extinguishers, most of the older ones feature attractive designs with a lot of detail. So, if you own one, you’ll want to know how yours will perform, among collectors, to obtain the best price.

Selling Antique Fire Extinguishers

You can sell your antique fire extinguishers in online marketplaces like eBay. When pricing yours, consider its current condition, age, any potential damage, and rarity.

To further give you an idea of how much money you can make by selling your vintage fire extinguishers, I’ve mentioned below a list of the most popular ones and their prices:

Fire ExtinguisherPrice
Fire Extinguisher with the California Grizzly Bear$1199
Pair of Fire Extinguisher Lamps Made of Stainless Steel$450
Empty American Soda Acid Fire Extinguisher$300
General Manf Co. Fire Extinguisher$285
General Quick-Aid Fire Extinguisher F-833$200
Dutch Copper Fire Extinguisher (1900)$160
2.5 Gallons (11.5 l) Fyr-Fyter Fire Extinguisher$100
Source: Noname Antiques

Below are four types of antique fire extinguishers you can sell to make money:

1. Vintage Fire Grenades

These 1800s and early 1900s fire grenades were used by homeowners to extinguish possible fires from their houses. Made of glass, they were invented before pressurized canisters came into being.

Antique grenades had salt water in them at the start, which was later replaced by carbon tetrachloride. The filling was sealed in rounded colorful bottles using corks and cement.

Most grenades sell between $45 to $300 in today’s marketplace. Although there’s only one reported purchase of a fire grenade worth $300.

2. Classic Fire Extinguishers With Wheels

The classic mobile extinguishers were used by people to quickly respond to fire breakouts while waiting for the fire department squad to come in with pumps.

Antique fire extinguishers are extremely rare. So, they are also considerably more expensive, fetching up to $1600!

3. Antique Hand-Pumped Fire Extinguishers

These fire extinguishers were made using galvanized steel. They featured a wooden pump handle with a rubber hose to dispense the canister filling.

Hand pumped fire extinguishers were popular during the 19th century. Today, they retail for $100-$200.

4. Vintage Soda-Acid Fire Extinguishers

Antique soda-acid fire extinguishers came into existence in 1886. They were the most widely used devices for putting out flames in the early 1900s.

The outside of these extinguishers were made from metal such as copper or brass. They contained a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, water, and tartaric acid.

Soda-acid fire extinguishers can be re-polished to make them quite valuable.

Collectors pay up to $300 for a well-preserved one! However, those in poor condition with obvious defects may sell for $70 or less.

How to Dispose Of Your Old Fire Extinguisher?

Disposing of your old fire extinguisher correctly is extremely important as they can be hazardous to human health and the environment. They are filled with pressurized chemicals that can explode and injure people.

In the past, there have been several instances of old fire extinguishers exploding in garbage disposal trucks and facilities!

Moreover, the extinguishing agents used in fire extinguishers for putting out fires can be toxic to our environment. So, they need to be removed and disposed of carefully.

Removing the Extinguishing Agent

Disposing of the extinguishing agent will depressurize the extinguisher, removing the risk of it exploding. This makes it safer for workers in recycling facilities who will deal with dismantling and disposing of it.

Most fire extinguishers use dry chemical powder. You will need a mask, gloves, and a garbage bag to remove it.

Wear your mask and gloves before removing the filling. Then, discharge the fire extinguisher into the garbage bag. Make sure to cover the nozzle with the bag loosely.

A tight grip may cause the bag to expand and explode.

The pressure gauge on the extinguisher will let you know when all the powder has been removed.

Everyone Should Watch This Useful Video

Disposing of Depressurized Fire Extinguishers

Once the extinguisher is discharged, you can throw it in the recycling bins. However, this is not allowed in some cities. So, make sure to read your city’s laws on disposing of fire extinguishers when throwing them away.

I recommend contacting your local household hazardous waste programs. Most of them deal with disposing of pressurized metal containers, such as aerosol cans, for free. However, if your fire extinguisher is used for commercial purposes, you’ll have to pay a small fee for disposal.

Big cities have permanent Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facilities that are open all year round. You can drop off your canisters there, and they will dispose of them appropriately.

Some HHW facilities also hold recycling events, where you can dispose of your batteries, extinguishers, paint, etc. Such events are the perfect occasion to eliminate all the hazardous waste in your garage.

How Are Fire Extinguishers Recycled?

Upon reaching a HHW facility, fire extinguishers are sorted into categories based on their extinguishing agent.

Next, they are dismantled, and the plastics, metals, and alloys are separated. Each material is then individually recycled.

Sorting Fire Extinguishers Into Categories

Here are seven categories of fire extinguishers based on the extinguishing agent:

  1. Water. 
  2. Film Foaming Type.
  3. Carbon Dioxide Type.
  4. Halogenated Agent Types, including halon and halon alternative clean agents.
  5. Dry Chemical Types, including ordinary dry chemical and multipurpose dry chemical. 
  6. Wet Chemical.
  7. Dry Powder Type.

Recycling the Fire Extinguishers

After the fire extinguishers are sorted, they are discharged, and the leftover extinguishing agents within them are removed.

Next, they are scraped down into individual components. The head caps, tubes, valves, and cartridges are separated and recycled.

As for the metal cylinder, its fate depends upon its condition. If it’s in reasonably decent shape, it is refilled and reused. Otherwise, it’s cut in half, and the metal is recycled.

The video below shows the recycling process:


Recycling old fire extinguishers doesn’t help you make money. However, it does help you save the environment and our planet! So make sure to take any old ones you have in your house to your local HHW today and play a role in being a responsible citizen!

If you have recycled fire extinguishers before or are aware of your neighborhood HHW, comment below and let me know about your experience.


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