Reader question: Can I take a very old foam fire extinguisher to the déchetterie (local tip)? If this is not allowed, is there another location?
Old fire extinguishers cannot be thrown in the regular rubbish or recycling, and must be disposed of according to specific guidelines.
Small extinguishers (under 2kg or two litres) using powder or foam can be taken to certain déchetteries, although this will depend on your local authority.
A non-profit sector body, Ecosystem, working in partnership with the state, can help you find a point to dispose of and/or recycle extinguishers, as well as, for example, bulbs, neon lighting strips, electrical goods, batteries and mobiles.
You can find a map of recycling points near you where you can drop them off for free here by selecting Je souhaite recycler petits extincteurs at: tinyurl.com/eco-syst.
This includes déchetteries in those areas where they are able to take them, but also other options, including car maintenance companies such as Norauto, and firms that specialise in safety equipment, which can also take them.
Ecosystem will collect the items and take them to a recycling centre where they will be depressurised and emptied, with the components then reused or destroyed.
You can also take your old extinguisher to a shop selling new ones, which is obliged to take it in exchange for the purchase of a new extinguisher, though it might also agree to take it, regardless.
For more help on what to do with specific types of waste, see the Que faire de mes déchets site developed by the Ademe agency at: tinyurl.com/dealwithwaste.