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How to Safely Dispose of Propane Tanks: What You Need to Know!

Propane tank
Propane tank
Image Credit: Tony Webster, Flickr

As Hank Hill can surely attest, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as grilling with propane. Not only does it allow you to “taste the meat, not the heat,” but it’s also extremely clean. There isn’t any charcoal to dispose of or ashes to scatter, so all you have to do is clean off the grill and get ready for your next BBQ — until the tank runs out, that is. What are you supposed to do then? Putting it in the recycling seems a bit reckless, but it’s a much better idea than tossing it in the fireplace.

If you’re curious as to the proper way to get rid of an empty propane canister, read on.

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What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of an Empty Propane Tank?

By far the best way to get rid of your empty propane tank is to take it back to the store that you bought it from and exchange it for a full one. Most companies charge a deposit to sell you a propane tank in the first place, so you’re literally throwing that money away if you dispose of it yourself.

Getting a fresh, new tank allows you to keep grilling without having to pay that deposit again. It also takes the problem of getting rid of the old tank off your hands — but don’t feel bad for the company you’re leaving it with. They’re simply going to refill it and sell it to the next customer.

You can keep doing exchanges to your empty tank for a full one as much as you’d like. All it will cost is the price of the gas, and since propane is fairly cheap, you can stay in the grill game for quite some time.

If for some reason, however, you know that you’ll never need to use a propane tank again, you can still take it to the company that you bought it from. They may refund your money or direct you to a company that will buy it from you.

If you don’t care about the money and just want to be rid of the thing, there are other options as well.

Other Options Beyond Exchanging It

Many propane companies will take empties off your hands, free of charge. In most cases, all you have to do is drop it off at their office, but call ahead first to be sure. They’ll be glad to get the thing back, as they can resell it without having to pay for a brand-new canister.

If you don’t have a propane supplier in your area, you can check with your local hazardous waste disposal location. They’ll often accept empty tanks, but if they don’t, they’ll know whom you should talk to instead.

Failing that, you can actually recycle the tank — but it’s not as simple as just tossing it in the bin. You’ll need to make absolutely certain that the thing is empty. Even a little bit of gas left inside makes it extremely dangerous, so don’t take any chances.

Remove the regulator and any other parts, stripping it down to just the metal canister. Then, you’ll need to puncture it to ensure that it doesn’t become pressurized (no one wants a bomb sitting in the back of their garbage truck, after all).

Recycling it is more work and more dangerous to you. It can also be incredibly dangerous for your waste management team if you don’t follow all the directions to the letter, so we’d discourage you from doing it yourself.

Propane_tanks
Image Credit: Tomascastelazo, Wikimedia Commons

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Get Rid of Old Tanks as Soon as You Can

There’s no reason to have empty propane tanks sitting around. Not only are they unsightly and take up space, but they literally represent free money. You can get a little bit of cash by exchanging them (or cheap gas), but if nothing else, getting rid of them will free up space in your garage.

As a matter of fact, the only reason to keep them around is to fire them from a catapult when the zombies finally take over the Earth. It’s probably best that you don’t tell your neighbors that this is the plan, though.


Featured Image: Tony Webster, Flickr

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