Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

What to do with used 1lb propane cylinders?

Probably shouldn't put "empty" propane canisters in the trash and even if it's safe when totally empty, that's a lot of metal to just throw away, and I'm sure the recycle bin isn't ready for them either.  What should be done with them?  Does (or could) REI or any other outdoor retailer offer a recycling path?

Labels (3)
32 Replies

In my area, they recommend taking them to the household hazardous waste facilities. They say:

"It is illegal to put pressurized gas cylinders and tanks in the trash. They can cause explosions even if they are empty."

I'm not sure what the hazardous waste place does with them - I rather doubt they capture the metal.

I'm hopeful that someone else has a route toward recycling.


Use them until they're completely empty, then punch a hole in them with a screwdriver or nail, then they can be recycled as tin.  We do this at work with 25lb refrigerant cans. Just make sure it's completely empty. If you're talking isobutane canisters, there is a punch tool available for those. Our recycler says that if they have a hole punched in them, the boiling point of the gas is so low that it will boil off quickly and therefore are not considered hazardous.


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

We have a large tank at home the we refill with propane and use it to refill the small bottles. Works great. 

@ScaryB4CoffeeJust be careful about that, the disposable bottles can't be {legally} transported if refilled. How they would know is beyond me, but that's what the DOT warning on them is about.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Be advised that if you take a refilled single-use cylinder on a public right of way you are in violation of the DOT regulation (49 U.S.C. 5124) that applies to that device. The penalty, if you are caught, can be a fine up to $500,000 or 5 years imprisonment.  Please consider switching to a refillable cylinder and recycling your single-use tanks. 

There is no possible way to ascertain if they’ve been refilled. Far better to refill and keep them out of waste stream IMO.

Far better than using a device that is designed to be reused?

The valve and shell of that single-use tank are not built for the rigors of refilling or reuse. They belong in the household hazardous waste collection stream, not the waste stream - and if you want to help keep our parks clean they belong in your "I don't use that anymore" stream.

As far as I can tell the only identifiable refilled propane tanks are the ones that expanded in size from being overfilled. I refilled many for many years and I check the weight trying to limit at 820-850 grams. If ii is more I keep them refrigerated till I use them. 


Isn’t the reason for the special recycling to dispose of the remaining contents properly? The remaining contents of propane and refrigerant cans have high Global Warming Potential. One can may be small but wouldn’t a habit of this be harmful?