What to do with an empty gas canister – Recycling tips

We all know what to do with a drunker sailor, right? Right. We’ll shave his belly with a rusty razor and all that jazz. However, how many of us know what to do with an empty gas canister? Here’s an honest answer: not so many as you’d assume.

Of course, there are ways you can re-purpose an empty gas canister. Just take a look at the featured image for this article. Anyway, today we’ll talk about recycling an empty gas canister. It’s the safest option out there. In the article you’re about to read, you’ll find some useful recycling tips. Needless to mention, you’re in for a treat!

First of all, you’ll want to utilize your canister (with a stove, for instance) until you empty it out. Next up, write “empty” on it, just so everyone knows it’s safe for handling. Consult your local recycling or waste management center. Alternatively, you can return it to the supplier (if possible). 

Worried that’s the whole text we’ve prepared? If so, that frown from your face will disappear once you scroll down!

Table of Contents

The not-so-weird case of empty gas canisters (FAQ)

Before we tell you how to recycle your old gas canisters, let’s tackle some FAQs that surround the topic. It’ll serve as something of an introduction to the main topic. Additionally, you might also get some ideas on what to do with your empty gas canister! Besides recycling it, of course.

What can I do with empty gas canisters?

Although the featured image for this article suggests otherwise, here’s the thing. You don’t wanna play with empty gas canisters. Your best bet is to recycle them. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Right now, it’s important that you know what your best option is.

An alternative might be to return the gas canister to the owner. For instance, in the UK, the majority of gas canisters are owned by big-shot gas suppliers. These canisters are basically rented out by users for a certain fee. Once you’re done using the canister, you can return it to the owner. In case you lost the rent agreement, the gas company is still responsible for collection. However, you’ll lose all the money you’ve paid as a deposit.

For additional insight into the process of gasoline disposal, pay a visit to this page.

Can you recycle small gas canisters?

Here’s your answer: you absofreakinlutely can! Gas canisters are recyclable, regardless of their size. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be writing this piece in the first place. Anyway, you’ll wanna pay close attention when recycling empty gas canisters. That’s because they’re a serious fire hazard. We’ll talk about it pretty soon.

For more gas-canister-related safety tips, feel free to read this article we’ve published.

How long can you keep a gas canister?

In other words: what’s the average lifespan of a regular gas canister? It actually depends on a couple or more factors.

First things first, let’s get something straight! You’ll wanna inspect your gas canister for issues thoroughly every once in a while. We’ll skip elaborating on why gas should be handled with care. If this ain’t your first time here, you know everything. If it is your first time here, follow this link to learn all about gas safety issues.

Anyway, your gas bottle will probably expire after about 10 years of usage. A more exact number’s somewhere between 5 and 15 years. As we’ve already said, it all depends on certain factors:

  • size of the canister.
  • type of the canister. 
  • the country of origin. 

Okay, so now that we’ve answered these neat little questions, it’s time to consider the main dish. Okay, what can you do with an empty gas canister? How do you recycle it?

A red gas canister on the garage floor.

What to do with an empty gas canister – Recycling tips

Okay, let’s see just what we have here. So, how should one go about taking care of an empty gas canister? Here’s the info we’ve gathered!

Needless to mention, the main point is safety! The good old saying “better safe than sorry” is always fresh when we’re talking about gas. Here’s what’s the deal: you can’t put gas cylinders in your regular recycling bin. The truth is: you can, but you, by all means, shouldn’t! If there’s any leftover gas inside it, it will explode when compressed. You don’t want to create a mess at the recycling center, do you?

A little step-by-step guide (small camping canister)

Now we’ll show you the safest way to handle an empty gas canister. Say, for example, that you’re dealing with a small camping gas cylinder. Here’s a little step-by-step guide on how to deal with it:

  • First, you’ll want to connect your canister to a stove or lantern. Light it and let it burn off, just so you empty out the cylinder. If you have an old camping canister, there might be a key to release leftover gas.
  • Next up, you’ll want to remove the canister. Inscribe the word “empty” onto it. That way, you’ll remind yourself or anybody else that the canister is safe and gas-free.
  • Inquire about whether or not your local recycling station deals with gas containers. Also, keep in mind that some camping shops might provide a recycling scheme.
  • Finally, here’s your last resort. If you can’t dispose of it safely put the empty gas canister inside a bag. Consult with your local waste management department. See where you can safely dispose of your not-so-trusty-anymore gas canister.

All in all: the worst you can do is just throw it away with the rest of your recycling waste. Also, keep in mind that this method only stands for small, portable camping canisters. The way you’ll deal with larger tanks is a completely different story. Speaking of tanks, here’s how you’ll clean the rust from your vehicle’s gas tank.

Recycling a larger propane tank

In case you want to recycle a larger propane tank, there are three options you can try:

  • re-use it (if it’s not “broken”). To an extent, it’s also recycling.
  • contact the local propane supplier. See if they know something about the proper way to handle the tank.
  • talk to your local hazardous waste management & disposal center. They surely have an option to offer.

Return it to the owner

We’ll be quick here, as we’ve mentioned this earlier in the text. There’s also the option of returning your gas canister to the supplier. The thing is: many retailers will also allow you to return your gas can once it’s used up. This might be an even easier option than the one we’ve described above.

Additional what-to-do-with-empty-gas-canister-related info

Here’s a little treat before we crash into the end margins of this text. In other words: let’s see if we’ve forgotten to tell you something.

How do I dispose of empty gas canisters in the UK?

The process is similar to the one we’ve already described. You’ll want to briefly consult with your local council. Ask and see if your local recycling center accepts gas canisters. If the answer’s positive, ask the folks who work there where can you leave your cans.

For more tips on gas can proper usage, follow this link.

Can you sell empty gas bottles?

Of course, one might get the idea of selling empty gas bottles. It’s only natural (we’re a very adroit kind). However, such action is downright illegal. Since you’re dealing with a delicate item, there can’t be any such transactions.

How do you empty a butane canister?

It feels like we’ll tell the same story again, but that’s how it goes. So, how does one empty a butane canister:

  • Utilize the canister until it burns all the gas. Disposal of a butane gas canister should be handled with great care. It should be empty or near-empty. Once the flames are dead and gone, continue to the next step. 
  • Puncture the gas canister sidewalls to remove the leftover gas. Use a screwdriver or any other puncturing tool you’ve got handy. Also, don’t forget to wear gloves. Make sure there aren’t any heating sources nearby. 

Once you’re done with that, take it to the nearest hazardous waste recycling center. If they won’t take it, contact your hazardous waste disposal site to see where to drop it off.

How do you tell how much gas is left in a bottle?

Last but not least, we’ll show you how to check how much gas you’ve got left:

  • Fill a jug with hot tap water. The more you sip, the better. 
  • Next, you’ll wanna slowly sip the liquid alongside the gas bottle. 
  • Do you notice the condensation line appearing? If you do, that’s the leftover gas level. 

If you didn’t notice the condensation line, here’s another suggestion. Wait a few seconds once you’ve sipped the hot water. Run your hand gently down the same canister side. There should be a temperature change at the level of the leftover substance. If there’s no difference you feel, there’s a good chance the canister’s empty. 

The bottom line

There you have it, folks. These were some tips on what to do with an empty gas canister. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this one as much as everything else on our blog. For more tips on gasoline or gas usage, follow that highlighted-in-blue link!