Workpower began fire extinguisher recycling at Bibra Lake back in October 2017. Over the last five years we’ve continued providing this service for many businesses, with Cleanaway being our largest partner. They deliver fire extinguishers from mine sites up north and from waste depots all over the metropolitan area.
Read on for more information on our recycling process and the positive outcomes achieved as a result.
Extinguisher recycling process
Each fire extinguisher has a shelf life before it needs to be retested to certify it’s fit for use. A faulty fire extinguisher could have catastrophic or fatal consequences in an emergency. Our Fire & Electrical Services ensure that emergency equipment is tested and maintained year round.
As a result of their shelf life, large volumes of extinguishers end up in landfill and pose a significant environmental threat.
We avoid this by stripping each extinguisher into parts for recycling. This begins with letting out the non-recyclable extinguisher powder or fluid into a container before opening up the cylinder. The trigger mechanism is taken out and excess material removed.
We partner with Hazrad Australia who transports the extinguisher powder to a compost facility. It’s then used to assist with breaking down the raw green waste, which also keeps the powder from going to landfill.
From here the team work together to remove pieces of the extinguisher for recycling. This includes steel, stainless steel, aluminium, and brass. Once all recyclable parts are removed the rest is safely disposed of.
Positive community impact
Since 2017 we recycled over 20,000 fire extinguishers and recovered approximately 80 tons of metal from landfill. By partnering with waste management companies such as Cleanaway and Hazrad Australia we are able to significantly reduce our impact across WA.
In addition to improving sustainability, this contract also creates employment opportunities for people with disability. An average of 20 supported employees work on recycling extinguishers across our sites. In doing so they gain valuable work skills, develop connections, and build independence.
Our employees learn to recycle extinguishers independently and use a variety of tools to do so. They take pride in their work and the sustainable future they’re contributing to.