Can You Recycle Old Propane Tanks?
Propane tanks last about 12 years from the date of manufacture, but sometimes you will need to replace them before that, depending on wear and rust.
Disposing of old propane tanks is not as simple as just throwing them into the trash or recycling bin. This is because even empty cylinders can contain at least residual amounts of propane. Even the little green canisters that are normally used with propane camping appliances need to be disposed of carefully. You can safely dispose of RV propane tanks through specialized propane bottle recycling programs.
How to tell if you need to replace an old propane tank
Old propane bottles can leak, making them a hazard to have around. Knowing when to replace your propane tanks will help you to use propane safely. There are two ways you can tell if your portable propane tank needs to be replaced with a new one.
Replace propane tanks after 12 years
Every propane tank (also known as a propane cylinder) has a date stamped on its collar. This date tells you the month and year the tank was manufactured, so you can use it to gauge the tank’s age. If it’s more than 12 years old (or 10 years old in Canada), your propane bottle needs to be replaced.
Obvious signs of wear and tear
Propane tanks are tough and sturdy, but they aren’t impervious to rust, dents, and other damage. Visually inspect propane bottles regularly. If you notice significant damage to a propane bottle, or if it’s leaking, it’s probably time to replace it.
Where to recycle propane tanks
Community recycling programs
Many communities have a propane cylinder recycling program where you can bring your old cylinders, including the small green ones. Often located at community landfill sites, these programs are super easy to find. Just Google “propane bottle recycling near me”.
Never put your old tanks in the blue box recycling bin. Old propane cylinders are treated as hazardous waste, in part because they have even been known to explode when they are accidentally mixed in with normal recycling and then crushed in a compactor.
Tank exchange programs
You can bring in your old or empty propane bottles to propane cylinder exchange programs and exchange them with prefilled bottles. Here are four companies that offer propane bottle exchange programs in either the USA or in Canada.
- Tank Traders (Western Canada)
- Lakes Gas (Upper Midwest USA and Canada)
- Amerigas (USA)
- Blue Rhino (USA)
Call your propane supply company
Your local propane supplier may accept old propane bottles in a drop-off recycling program. Ferrell Gas is a propane supplier that accepts propane cylinders for recycling.
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