How to dispose of propane tanks

Propane is a widely used heating and energy source. It is convenient to use it when you are mobile such as traveling somewhere, camping in the wild, or living in a recreational vehicle (RV). But, how to empty a propane tank? If you are a regular user, you are required to empty or replace the tank quite regularly. Calling a professional service every time is not the solution because you might be traveling and they are not available in the area where you have camped or the service is expensive.

Why Do RVers Use Propane?

RVers use propane because it’s readily available everywhere at a price point that is cheaper than gas. You can purchase a tank from anywhere – RV parks, home improvement stores, and gas stations. It especially comes handy during boondocking when you can use the gas cylinders for practically everything – cooking, heating water, and for running various appliances.

How to dispose of propane tanksPropane is widely used by Rvers for many daily activities!

You should remain alert to regulator failure and leaking of the propane tanks. You must replace the regulator when it fails. Similarly, you have to buy a new tank if the old one leaks and dissipates gas. Another thing to remember is not to use propane when driving and not to install the canisters inside the vehicle.

>> How to Pick the Best TPMS for RV 2018 – Read this! How to dispose of propane tanksPropane is flammable. So, you have to dump the tanks in a barren place.

How to Empty a Propane Tank In an RV?

As an RVer, you must dump all the remaining gas from your propane tank before using a new one. But, how to do it safely except for calling a licensed contractor for gas removal and paying a handsome amount of money?

The propane cylinders you use in the RV are much smaller than commercial-size tanks. Let’s see how to empty a propane tank on your next trip safely. In most cases, it is unlikely to take more than a couple of minutes:

Step 1: Disconnect the tank(s) from their attachments and take them in an outdoor place or a well-ventilated indoor area where there is no source of ignition. They should not be within 10 feet of even a tree because propane can damage the things that come into contact with it.

Step 2: Place the tank(s) on a slanted surface or plank so that the valve is in a lateral position.

Step 3: Open the valve and stand back. The remaining propane will come shooting out of the cylinder. Wait until the last drop comes out. Close the valve and you are done with the propane dumping.

How to dispose of propane tanksHow to empty a propane tank in 3 steps.

The Safety Cautions You Should Take

Propane is a highly volatile gas. So, you should take some precautions before starting the dumping process:

  • Use hand gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from propane.
  • The dumping should be done in an area that is far from buildings, trees, and water resources.
  • Propane is flammable, so the dumping ground should be free of a fire hazard.
  • Keep firefighting equipment standby so that you can quickly access them whenever necessary.

How to dispose of propane tanksYou can change old cylinders for new ones.

What to Do with the Empty Canisters?

You may want to throw them away after disposing of the gas. Don’t even think about it! Empty propane canisters can be harmful to the environment. You can swap them for new ones. Many RV parks and campgrounds give such exchange offers. If not, there are plenty of exchanging points to be found across the country.

How to dispose of propane tanks

Remember that the safety of the whole disposing act will depend on the size of the tank and how much gas is left there. If it’s a 5- or 10-gallon tank, you can safely dispose of it by following the steps mentioned above. However, if it’s a fixed tank holding 250 gallons or more of propane, you should contact a dealer to handle the dumping.

>> You may find these videos interesting!

Smaller propane tanks used with gas grills are well-constructed and designed to last for years. But heavy-duty use can sometimes be accompanied by dents and dings. One often overlooked fact is that propane tanks also need to be recertified 12 years after the manufacture date found on the tank’s collar. It’s easy to be confused about both when and how to address tank damage and recertification. Read on to learn what to do if you encounter a similar situation.

When it comes to recertification, if your propane grill tank is no longer certified by your propane provider or the U.S. Department of Transportation, a solid first step is to find out if it’s acceptable for exchange with Blue Rhino. If a grill cylinder is too damaged and unable to be repaired, then it’ll need to be disposed of . Unsure if your tank needs recertification? If so, check out this video.

If all signs point toward having to get rid of your small propane tank, you might wonder, “How do I dispose of my small propane tank?” In any case, it’s important to note that it’s never OK to put propane tanks of any kind in garbage bins for curbside trash or recycle services. This is a fire hazard as there’s a chance the slightest amount of propane released could cause a fire.

The easiest way to get rid of a gas grill propane tank is to take it to a Ferrellgas location or a Blue Rhino drop and swap location.

You can either purchase an exchange at one of our thousands of retail providers or, if not looking for another grill tank, simply write “recycle” on it and place it next to a Blue Rhino retailer’s propane tank cage. Our friends at Blue Rhino will take care of it for you. Please note that Blue Rhino will not accept damaged propane tanks . If a Ferrellgas location is more convenient for you, contact us or stop by during business hours. Your friendly propane professionals will take care of this free of charge.

There are external options too, however, quite limited. Many landfills, recycling centers, and scrap metal dealers will not accept grill tanks or other small propane tanks. Some hazardous waste disposal sites or local public works departments may take your tanks, while others recommend calling a propane supplier.

How to dispose of propane tanks

So, to recap, if wanting to dispose of a small propane tank consider these options:

If you believe your small propane tank has more life left, you can reach out to your propane supplier and seek recertification. In the United States, small propane tanks are qualified for 12 years from the date of manufacture (it’s good for 10 years in Canada).

If still in good condition, small propane tanks can be recertified for either 5, 7, or 12 years, depending on the recertification method used. Uncertain if your tank qualifies? Read this blog for assistance.

Small propane tanks range from a one-pound cylinder to a 20-pound gas grill cylinder. While these valuable propane tanks have a shelf life of a one day they will be either too damaged or simply out of date.

Larger propane tanks should be handled by a propane retailer such as Ferrellgas. We have the trained staff and proper tools to remove the tank safely and efficiently.

For more information regarding tank sizes, check out this Tank Talk blog: Understanding the various propane tank sizes.

One-pound propane grill tanks are typically used for camping and other outdoor activities. This one pound “disposable” propane tank is often littered at parks or camping grounds.

This, however, is highly discouraged. Even though it’s a small amount of propane, it still can cause a fire if tossed in the trash or left behind at a campsite. Even more, campgrounds are charged a pretty penny when they must dispose of these small propane tank items.

To get rid of your camping propane tank, get in touch with Ferrellgas or waste disposal site or your local public works department.

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Please fill out the Contact Us form for general questions, customer service, and job inquiries.

Frequently Asked Questions

We accept all brands of propane tanks and cylinders for exchange.

Our tanks are filled to 80% capacity. The 80% fill rule is a preventative safety measure against the fluctuations that happen inside a tank. Propane, like water, will expand with added heat. Propane, however, will increase in volume nearly 17 times greater than water with the same temperature increase. To allow for this expansion, propane containers are filled to only 80% of their capacity.

For more information on how much propane there is in different sized tanks, visit our Tank Sizes page.

For detailed information about transporting your propane tank safely, please visit our Transporting Propane Tanks page. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

    ALWAYS transport and store a cylinder in a secure and upright position so it will not fall, shift, or roll. ALWAYS close the cylinder valve and, if required, seal with a plug, even if the cylinder is empty. Ask your propane retailer if a plug is required. NEVER keep a filled cylinder inside a hot vehicle. ALWAYS place the cylinder in a well-ventilated area of the vehicle. ALWAYS proceed directly to your destination and immediately remove the cylinder from your vehicle.

It’s important that you never dispose of your propane cylinder by throwing it in the trash. Exchanging a tank is an appropriate way of recycling your old propane grill tank. Simply find a location near you to exchange your old tank, or contact us to to help you safely dispose of your propane tanks.

When you’re done with the propane tank that helped you fuel your cooking flair during your camping trip, you might wonder what you can do with it especially if it’s your first time.

Maybe you’ll just just throw it into a recycling bin once you get home, but that’s a bad idea.

Why shouldn’t you try to recycle propane tanks?

Propane tanks are usually not recyclable in curbside bins because they usually have very small amounts of gas in them and when compressed they will explode.

This can have devastating effects, such as causing a fire in the recycling facility, so recycling your propane canisters with the rest of your trash is never a good idea.

While you might be wondering what on earth to do with your empty propane tanks, luckily there are other solutions to keep them safe and prevent horrific consequences.

Can You Throw An Empty Propane Tank In The Trash?

How to dispose of propane tanks

Since you can’t toss your propane tank into the household recycling bin, your next thought might be to leave it out with the trash so that it will be picked up by the garbage collectors. But should you do this?

Although throwing a propane tank that still has some gas in it into the trash can be dangerous, it depends on the type of propane tank that you have. If it has a key that you insert into the tank to release all the gas inside it, this ensures that it won’t have trace amounts left inside and this enables you to safely put it in the garbage.

However, this can still be risky. Some claim that this is not a good idea because these tanks are considered to be hazardous waste, so you might want to rethink that option to be on the safe side or at least consult with your local trash collecting facility to find out what they will accept.

In some areas, disposing of empty propane tanks is illegal because it’s been said that they can still cause an explosion even if there’s no trace of fuel in them.

In other areas, municipalities will allow you to dispose of empty propane tanks, cylinders, and bottles in the household trash. They will, however, request that you follow some important rules.

These include emptying the tank properly, removing its regulator, and puncturing the tank so it can’t be pressurized again. This procedure can be difficult and potentially dangerous if you’ve never done it before, so it’s best to get it done by a professional, such as a propane supplier.

It’s always worth considering bringing your empty propane tank to a scrap metal recycling facility, if you have one in your area, and only consider throwing out the empty tank in the trash if that’s a last resort and if your municipality allows it.

Note: if your propane tank doesn’t have a key that you can use to release all of its gas properly and safely, you can release the gas yourself by following these steps.

First, connect the tank to your lantern or stove and then light it. Give it a chance to completely burn out so that any gas is released.

Check With Local Camping Shops

How to dispose of propane tanks

Did you know that some camping shops accept empty propane tanks for their recycling programs?

This is a fantastic way to breathe new life into empty propane tanks because what else are you going to do with them? It’s worth checking in with your local camping shop to find out if they accept and recycle empty propane containers.

If your camping shop can’t help you, then check with local gas stations or propane suppliers. It’s probably a good idea to collect empty propane tanks in the meantime so that you’ll have a lot to give them and this will make it worth your effort and time.

Wait, What About Refilling Your Propane Tank?

How to dispose of propane tanks

You don’t have to let your empty propane tanks go to waste. Why not just refill them with propane so that you can use them on your next adventure trip? This seems to make the most sense. But, it also comes with some important things you should know.

For starters, not any old tank can be refilled. If your tank has any dents, rust, or other damage on it, or it has expired, it’s best to avoid refilling it because it’s just not safe in these conditions. In some places, it might even be illegal to do so, so you really want to avoid that.

Another thing you should know is that if you have a single-use propane canister, you should never try to refill it. This can be dangerous because single-use cylinders are meant to be used only once (hence their name) and they can leak propane gas if they’re refilled.

Since propane is flammable it can explode, causing damage to the environment or hurting people.

How to dispose of propane tanks

Does Propane Tank Size Matter?

How to dispose of propane tanks

Sometimes what you do with the empty propane tank or cylinder really depends on its size.

If you have a large propane tank you want to dispose of, you should reach out to a licensed propane company like a local supplier of propane. They are equipped to remove any leftover gas from these tanks because they have special tools to do so. It’s also worth giving them larger tanks that could be reused in a safe way.

On the other hand, if you have a smaller tank your local household hazardous waste collection site could be able to help you dispose of it in the safest way. It will also be easier to go with this option because of the tank’s smaller size.

I’m not real familiar with places that have rules that discriminate amongst different types of trash. Heck, that smacks of trashism to me. Underneath it all, trash is all the same – it’s garbage. . .

What does one do where you’re from with empty aerosol cans like paint, hairspray, etc.? 1lb propane bottles seem similar.

Where you’re from does someone go through your trash to see what you throw away?

Cut them up with an angle grinder, it’s not a gas container anymore when there’s a big hole in it.

I’m not sure if rules outweight logic though.

I guess that’s somewhat necessary in high population centers.

I know you said you didn’t want to hear shoot them but if there is some other safe way to put a hole in them (maybe look on YouTube for projects people make with them), then as a couple of others suggested they’re inert and just scrap. Not sure if I would just go at one with an angle grinder because of potential residual. Of course shooting them is the easy way.

But if you plan to use more of them, refilling is very economical.

Propane tanks are commonly used to fuel household and commercial appliances such as grills, stoves, and water heaters. If you purchased a propane tank that later becomes used or broken in Central Florida, you may not know how to get rid of them. At Discount Propane in Orlando, we teach you how to use and take care of your tanks as well as how to dispose of them properly when the time comes.

Propane Tanks: General Guidelines for Safety

Propane is a clean-burning fuel that is similar to natural gas. It’s non-toxic and does not produce harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide. The gas itself is stored as a liquid in tanks that come in many shapes and sizes. Most small tanks are 16.4 oz. while larger equipment takes 5 lb. steel tanks.

Since the gas is highly flammable, safety is a top priority when taking care of propane tanks. When you are ready to dispose of your tank, do not throw it away with the garbage or leave it on the side of the road for recycling. When left outside in the sun, the tank will heat up, causing the propane to expand, creating a high-pressure situation. This may result in the opening of the valve, releasing the remaining gas in the air. You should also look for any rust that may develop on the tank as it will eat away at the surface.

Another reason to never leave the tank outside is so that they do not put sanitation workers at risk. These workers are instructed to never take propane tanks, so it is best to dispose of them in a safe, efficient manner.

Seek Professional Help For Orlando Propane Tank Disposal

Individuals who try to take a condemned or broken propane tank to a location such as a local scrap yard will certainly be turned away, as there may be leftover gas in the tank and they do not have the means to store hazardous materials.

When a propane tank is no longer fit to be used, an expert propane company knows how to dispose of them in the safest, most efficient manner. At Discount Propane in Orlando, customer safety is our top priority. Our professional, friendly and knowledgeable technicians can help you dispose of your tanks as we are licensed to do so. We have the materials and tools to remove all remaining gas from the tank and haul it away. Remember that untrained individuals who attempt to remove any remaining gas from a propane tank or cylinder can result in serious personal injury or even death.

Many residential homes and commercial businesses are making the switch to Discount Propane Inc. in Orlando, Florida. If you haven’t used propane to run your appliances before, our expert team is here to help. Power and heat your area at a fraction of the cost when compared to traditional electricity and see the savings almost instantly. To learn more about the benefits of propane or if you need help disposing of your tank, contact us for more information in Central Florida today.

Disposal for households

Accepted at hazardous waste collection sites

  • All containers must be 8 gallons or less.
  • Propane tanks larger than 8 gallons can be returned to the manufacturer or to a Blue Rhino location.
  • Total waste limit at hazardous waste collection sites: 50 gallons per trip

Small gas canisters, such as camping canisters, can go in the garbage if they are empty. Empty or partially filled tanks, 8 gallons or less, can be taken to a hazardous waste facility.
Transfer stations do not accept propane tanks of any size.

Hazardous Waste Disposal Locations

12550 Stone Ave N Seattle, WA 98133
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed on July 4, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

8100 2nd Ave S Seattle, WA 98108
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Located next to the transfer station.
Closed on July 4, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

13800 SE 32nd St. Bellevue, WA 98005
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Tues-Fri), 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sat-Sun)

The Factoria facility is located at the transfer station. Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

1101 Outlet Collection Way, Auburn, WA 98001
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Auburn Wastemobile location is open on weekends, year-round. Marine Flares are not accepted at this location.
Located near the loading dock of Nordstrom Rack. Closed Nov 27-28 and Dec 25-26, 2021.

I’m not real familiar with places that have rules that discriminate amongst different types of trash. Heck, that smacks of trashism to me. Underneath it all, trash is all the same – it’s garbage. . .

What does one do where you’re from with empty aerosol cans like paint, hairspray, etc.? 1lb propane bottles seem similar.

Where you’re from does someone go through your trash to see what you throw away?

Cut them up with an angle grinder, it’s not a gas container anymore when there’s a big hole in it.

I’m not sure if rules outweight logic though.

I guess that’s somewhat necessary in high population centers.

I know you said you didn’t want to hear shoot them but if there is some other safe way to put a hole in them (maybe look on YouTube for projects people make with them), then as a couple of others suggested they’re inert and just scrap. Not sure if I would just go at one with an angle grinder because of potential residual. Of course shooting them is the easy way.

But if you plan to use more of them, refilling is very economical.