September 28, 2021

Safest and easiest way to recycle camp fuel canisters

You know how hard it is to find a place to recycle camp fuel canisters. The online resources that show up on the first page of Google make it seem almost impossible. Don’t get me started on YouTube videos! You’re ready to give up. But wait – you made it to this page. We’re going to show you how easy it is. You don’t need to make your own tool, you don’t need to use bobby pins, you don’t need to do anything crazy. The methods below are safe, quick, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

If you find the information below more useful than anything else you’ve found so far, please help this page get to the first page of Google. Share this article with your friends and link back to it in your blogs. Write your own articles about the same subject. Let’s kick out all the useless and misleading info. The more people know about how easy it is to recycle fuel canisters, the better we will all be.

Where to recycle empty camp fuel canisters

Before reading further, decide which option of recycling fuel canisters will work best for you.

Option 1: Take it to a mixed-metal recycling center near you

Google “mixed metal recycling centers near me”. Call the center to make sure they will accept punctured camp fuel canisters. An example of such a center is BB Recycling in Las Vegas. Make sure to emphasize that the cylinders are empty and that you have punctured a hole through them to prove it.

Option 2: Put it in your regular recycling

Call your local recycling center and ask if they take punctured camp fuel cylinders. Make sure to emphasize that the cylinders are empty and that you have punctured a hole through them to prove it.

Option 3: Take it to a third-party who will recycle it for you

Some campgrounds have collection bins specific to empty fuel canisters (these campgrounds are rare). Call camping gear shops near you to ask if they recycle camp fuel canisters. One such example is Basecamp Outdoor Gear. They will take your cylinder, puncture it themselves, and take it to a local mixed-metal recycler in the city.

How to puncture a hole in your empty camp fuel canisters using hammer and screwdriver

Recycling centers will only accept your empty camp fuel canisters if they are clearly punctured. It is too risky for them to have a blow-out otherwise. The good news: It’s really simple to poke a hole through an empty cylinder.

Puncturing a hole in a fuel canister is not as daunting and dangerous as it sounds. All you need is a hammer and a screwdriver. Here is what you do:

Step 1: Make sure the canister is empty.

This step is really important!

Connect the canister to a camp stove, turn on the stove, and wait for the flame to go out.

If you emptied the canister last week and only now getting back to it to puncture it, then empty it again. Chances are that some excess gas has resettled in the canister. All you have to do to make sure it’s empty is push on the little valve at the top. If you don’t hear a sound, it’s empty. If you hear gas escaping, keep pushing until there is no more sound. Do this right before step 2. Again, this step is crucial!

Empty propane cylinder
Check that the propane cylinder is empty by depressing the top valve

Step 2: Hammer a screwdriver into the canister

Literally. Just like it sounds. Just a few blows and you have a hole. Phillips-head screwdriver with good grip is the tool of choice because it has a pointy tip, it makes an obvious hole, and it’s easier to hold while hammering than a thin nail.

fuel canister, screwdriver, hammer
Fuel canister, screwdriver, hammer

I know this sounds daunting, but as long as the canister is empty, then this is safe to do.

Tools to poke a hole in fuel canisters

If you are still hesitant to try this, then there is a safer and more controlled method of proving that the canister is empty. For isobutane canisters, you can buy this overpriced tool and follow the instructions on the box. For the 1lb green propane cylinders, you can remove the valves very easily using a valve core remover tool.

The 1lb propane cylinder valves have a standard Schrader valve size. If you’ve never heard of a Schrader valve, that’s fine. I had to look it up. A quick internet search reveals that these are the standard valves on car and bike tires. Any auto parts store will carry these tools. I ended up going the cheap route and getting this 4-way tool. It is NOT the best method, but it works. A better way would be this one-function tool because it’s deeper and has a better grip.

How to remove propane cylinder valve using valve core remover tool

Between all the useless videos out there, I found one great YouTube video showing how easy this process is.

green propane cylinder schrader valve
1lb propane cylinder showing Schrader valve

Below is a picture gallery and step-by-step directions to remove a valve from a propane cylinder. This is the safest way to make a hole in the propane cylinder.

Please help this page get to the first page of Google. Share this article with your friends and link back to it in your blogs. Write your own articles about the same subject. Let’s kick out all the useless and misleading info. The more people know about how easy it is to recycling fuel canisters, the better we will all be.