Camping – Recycling Liquid Propane Canisters

We’re going camping. First Tuolumne Meadows with our friends Martin and Christine, then somewhere in the Eastern Sierras or north of Lake Tahoe. Ten days of car camping with the family. As usual, I’ll face the same problem question ten days in a row: how do I recycle properly? Car camping is bound to generate heaps of technically recyclable trash: food cans, milk cartons, cereal boxes, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, wine bottles, beer bottles or cans and the list goes on. It used to be that campgrounds were poorly equipped but now, most campgrounds offer reycling programs that accomodate cardboard, cans, glass or plastic. Isn’t that neat? No neeed to lug your left-over recycling in the car on your way back home.

However the one tricky thing Iv’e been wondering about is the liquid propane canisters. That’s what we use for our two-burner stove and liquid propane is a relatively clean fuel to use. However the small green canisters cannot be refilled and they are considered a hazardous waste if not entirely empty. So I read the recycling instructions on the canister: “To discard, contact local refuse hauler or recycle center. Never put in fire or incinerator. Do not puncture.” Now what?.

I called SF Environment to find out more and right now the only recycling facility that will take them back in San Francisco is the Hazardous Waste Disposal facility next to Candlestick Park.

However, as suggested by SF Environment, technically it’s possible to recycle empty canisters in your blue bin if you sure they are empty. After all, the canisters are heavy steel so they should be able to be recycled like all the other metals. But there have been problems with some recycling centers refusing propane cans. To avoid your eco-conscience spoiling your camping trip, either you eat cold or you take a hike towards your local hazardous waste disposal facility.

Too bad hardware stores don’t take back what they sell…

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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2 Responses to “Camping – Recycling Liquid Propane Canisters”

  1. September 04, 2009 at 9:21 am, Anonymous said:

    Interesting… I was just researching this subject on line and was planning to ask in our local REI what to do with empty camping cylinders. I feel bad to throw it in the trush, although one website claimed that it is ok (for the camping cylinders).
    This item should be recyclable.

    Reply

  2. July 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm, Anonymous said:

    Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Program
    Offers free drop-off of single use and refillable propane tanks

    Locations in Fremont, Hayward, Livermore,
    Oakland
    800-606-6606

    http://www.household-hazwaste.org

    Reply

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