Miljø Norge refurbishes expired fire extinguishers, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and environmental toxins from new manufacturing. “We make it easy to choose a more eco-friendly, circular alternative at a comparable price,” says Ola Buarøy, CFO at Miljø Norge.
Fire extinguishers are a life-saving product that also packs an environmental punch. From production to disposal, they are a source of significant CO2 emissions, mineral extraction and hazardous waste. Fire extinguishers are not unique in this regard. They are typical of any product in the linear economy.
“For the sake of the environment, we must reuse and refine waste to utilise society’s resources in the best way possible. Our first circular product happens to be fire extinguishers,” explains Buarøy.
Through its circular business model, Miljø Norge refurbishes expired fire extinguishers and returns them to the users, as good as new. Service is done on an automated production line, where the fire extinguishers are emptied and refilled, inspected for damage, repressurised and cleaned.
When completed, each fire extinguisher comes with a certificate showing the value of choosing a refurbished product compared with buying a new one.
The automated process enables refurbishment at a large scale. “The production line refurbishes a fire extinguisher in 30 seconds. This gives us the potential to service 400 000 fire extinguishers in two shifts, and possibly up to 500 000 in three shifts. These numbers could serve the entire Norwegian and Swedish markets,” explains Buarøy.
The first production line is up and running in Norway. The process can be scaled in other European countries as well, as the EU has common standards for fire extinguishers.
Miljø Norge’s solution increases circularity in the market and reduces the need to import new fire extinguishers, which normally come from China.
“One reused fire extinguisher from Miljø Norge prevents 38 kg of CO2 emissions and extraction of 15 kg of iron ore which is used to produce steel,” explains Buarøy.“When users choose a refurbished product, there are environmental benefits from reduced raw material extraction, less hazardous waste disposal and fewer shipping emissions.”
Moreover, fire extinguishers can be refurbished at least three times, extending the product’s life by 20 years or more.
With demand for fire extinguishers increasing worldwide, the global market size is expected to reach USD 7.2 billion by 2028. Today the EU alone has 250 million fire extinguishers, and 30 million of these must be replaced each year.
“We have proof that the market is willing to buy refurbished fire extinguishers. Last year we serviced 20 000 fire extinguishers, and this year the number is expected to increase to 100 000,” he says.
The company plans to launch automated production lines in other European markets in the next year or two. Its customer base includes fire prevention companies, insurance companies, retailers and institutions such as schools and hospitals.
Miljø Norge was established in 2021 with the aim of increasing circularity in the market.
12. Responsible consumption and production
Miljø Norge reduces waste and establishes circularity in the fire extinguisher industry by refurbishing used products.