How To Dispose Of Camping Propane Canisters

A camping trip isn’t complete without some gas to cook up your favourite meals. But what should you do with your small camping propane canister once it’s used up, and can you recycle them, disposing of them responsibly and safely?

 1.    Connect the small canister to your stove or lantern and release any remaining gas by lighting it and letting it burn off (some older camping propane canisters also have keys to release leftover gas).
 2.    Remove the canister from the device and write “empty” on it to remind you or any anybody else that it’s safe to handle and dispose of.
 3.    Check to see if your local recycling station accepts propane gas canisters. Some camping shops will also could also run a recycling scheme.
 4.    If there are no recycling or safe disposal options available, place the empty canister in a bag and wait until you can find a safe drop off location near you.
Please note: this advice is only for small and portable camping propane gas canisters, NOT large propane tanks which are heavily regulated when it comes to proper disposal.

Small camping propane canisters typically weigh around 0.907kg or less.

Dispose responsibly where you can

Some websites will advise that you simply empty all the remaining gas out, remove the canister, and then dispose of it in a trash bag or take it home with you.

That’s fine, but surely there’s a better way?

You might also see websites that tell you to place your used propane gas canisters into your recycling bin.

Don’t do this, as if there are any trace gases left inside the canister it could explode during the compression processes at recycling centres.

This is what a spokesperson from a recycling service had to say:

“This is the time of year that we routinely see propane tanks of all sizes in the Materials Recycling Facility, exactly where they should not be. Propane tanks, even the small campsite-styles, are not recyclable in curb-side bins or carts. They usually have trace amounts of gas in them, and when compressed will explode.”

Can you recycle small propane canisters?

Not in the usual methods. Don’t place them in recycling bins, as local authorities are very strict on this, and don’t want you to do it.

As referenced earlier, propane gas is a hazardous material that should never be put in recycling bins due to the dangers it can present.

That also applies to the following types of compressed gas canister:

  Refillable propane tanks for BBQs and camping stoves
  Disposable propane canisters
  Butane canisters
  Helium balloon tanks
  Oxygen tanks

If the canisters have gas left in when crushed down, they can possibly catch alight, or even explode like a rocket.

That can cause a highly dangerous situation in a garbage sorting or recycling facility where is paper and cardboard.

How do you dispose of larger propane tanks?

For larger tanks there is government regulation on how you should dispose of them. They will be accepted for recycling and disposal at Department of Public Works, recycling centres, or transfer stations.

You can find out the best place local to you with a quick web search, or by calling our local Department of Public Works to see what the can accept.


Whilst smaller propane camping canisters are easier to dispose of, they can still present a hazard if not disposed of responsibly.

When you get to your chosen campsite, ask the management what their policy is, as on many occasions they could even take them for you.

If that’s not an option, take it home, and then drop if off at a safe disposal location in your area.

And if you need a replacement or are looking for a great deal on a camping stove or lantern, please explore our accessories section to see what we recommend right now.

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