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?
I think the difference (aside from the normal tanks being refilled makes them illegal to transport as has been mentioned) is:
1) The refillable tanks are thicker walled.
The normal ones supposedly can suffer fatigue with each fill and use as the pressure changes - think of bending a piece of paper back and forth on a crease repeatedly.
2) The refillable tanks have a bleeder valve so it can be vented as it's filled whereas the disposable ones do not.
Why they have bleeder valves, I don't know.
I'd be all over the cheap adapter except that 95% of my 1lb tank usage is away from home and I'd rather not break federal law. The refillable tanks were spendy but I'd do it again for the overall money saved and keeping things legit.
do you have a local "toxic waste disposal" place? We have ToxDrops in Indianapolis. They take household waste like oil and pain as well as batteries. They also take old propane tanks and properly recycle.
YES!!! It really doesn't matter how you stop using disposable tanks. You can use an adapter hose (and also a tree to connect multiple devices). You can use the new Little Kamper 1lb tank exchange. You can buy refillable tanks in sizes ranging from 16oz up to 10 gallons. If you love outdoor recreation and you want to enjoy unspoiled wilderness, choose an alternative to disposable tanks and make your fuel choice zero-waste.