Thursday, April 26, 2012

Skills - Propane/Natural Gas Canister Disposal

Spring is in the air; time to start planning trips, sorting gear, and possibly, replacing old equipment.  But what are you supposed to do with those old, empty (and partially full) gas canisters for your stove?  It's not always as easy as tossing it into the trash. Here are some things to know when disposing of old gas canisters: 
  • Most fuel canisters are steel and can be recycled along with your Dr Pepper cans.  Just burn off any residual fuel and puncture empty canisters before recycling.  Crushing empty cans with big rocks seems to work well.  Note:  Make sure canister is completely empty before puncture!  
  • Coleman, which makes Powermax aluminum fuel canisters, used to manufacture a "Green Key" puncture tool with compatible stoves.  While no longer produced, this key is still effective at discharging residual fuel in canisters.  However, JetBoil has produced a similar tool called the "Crunchit" that simultaneously vents the remaining fuel and punctures the can for recycling.  The "Crunchit" can be used any any fuel canister, not just JetBoil!  Here's a video...

  • In Boulder, Burlington, and other eco-conscious towns, you can just toss empty, punctured canisters into your recycle bin. In Seattle, canisters that are empty (and marked as such with a Sharpie or adhesive label) can be placed in curbside recycling bins–no puncture holes necessary. 
  • Call your local Public Works Department and ask about rules in your area.
  • Additionally, is a very useful website for finding disposal facilities in your area.  Simply enter you location and search for "propane tanks", "fuel canisters", etc.
Remember, in the U.S., one person creates about 1,700 pounds of trash every year.  So keeping just another item out of our landfills is one more step in the right direction.

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