Where to recycle camp fuel canisters


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 18 of total 18 in this topic

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Topic Author's Original Post - May 3, 2009 - 12:14am PT
J has a vague recollection that Wilderness Exchange said that they could only recycle Colemans. (I don't share this memory.)

Is there anywhere else in the Bay Area or on the way to CA climbing locations that recycles them?

May 3, 2009 - 12:22am PT

I called a few places such as REI, a local climbing/ski shop, even Bass Pro Shop and the best I heard was to recycle the empties with your other used metal stuff. Seems a shame, huh? Hope someone can offer a better solution.

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 3, 2009 - 12:27am PT
I believe that MEC in Vancouver (at least) takes back the ones that they sell. They have a gadget that punches a hole in the cylinder, and lets out all the pressure, then it just goes for recycling.

I've heard that it's fun to throw them on a campfire, and then run like hell/duck, but haven't tried it.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 3, 2009 - 12:30am PT
didn't mythbusters do a show on that, oh no, that was a beer keg.

yeah, don't do that. for realz

Trad climber
Boss Angeles
May 3, 2009 - 12:41am PT
I'd like to use them for target practice, but common sense rules the day.

I just toss them in the *blue* trash barrel. I figure the Pros will know what to do with them.

Social climber
wuz real!
May 3, 2009 - 12:55am PT
I do like Chaz, does, but another alternative is to give them to Dingus McGee who will refill them.

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
May 3, 2009 - 08:09am PT
I shot a colman canister with a .22. It was rather uneventful. All that happened was the canister spun around for about 30 seconds until the propane was gone. For the next one I poured a little white gas on a tray and placed the canister on the tray, lit the gas, then shot it with a .22. That was neat!


May 3, 2009 - 11:29am PT
In San Jose I just make sure the canister is empty first and then punch a visible hole in it, then put it in the recycling bin.

AFAIK Without the hole, they would worry that the canister might explode -- they would treat it as household hazardous waste.
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
May 3, 2009 - 12:46pm PT
I just refill mine from a 5 gallon grill tank.

Picked up a refill valve at Ace Hardware for 20 bucks that couples the 1 pound canister to a bulk tank.


The secret is to put your small canister in the freezer for 20 minutes or so before filling.

I've found that I can get 7 or 8 refills before it starts to get hinkey on output...then I punch a hole and recycle.

Social climber
Davis, CA
May 3, 2009 - 03:53pm PT
hey melissa,

wilderness x might do it. last time i went in there to recycle coleman tanks, the guy told me he had to check to see if it's one of the brands they took for free or if I'd have to pay.

my coleman was free as it turned out. not sure what you've got, but they might do it for a fee.

do they really recycle tanks at campgrounds? You always see a pile of them. I recall seeing a sign in tuolumne campground saying NOT to leave your old tanks, they couldn't recycle them. right below the sign was a big pile of canisters of course.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2009 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks for the tips!

Caught...you back yet?

Wilderness Exchange has always done it in the past, but it seems that maybe they stopped. Thanks for the tip on Nomads, khanom. I can bring my tanks down when I go there if I don't find something closer.

I'm not sure I'm brave enough for the DIY fill.

May 3, 2009 - 05:29pm PT
Some Coleman 1 lb canisters come with a little green thingy that you use to punch a hole in it when you're done, for recycling purposes. Not sure about other brands.

At campgrounds in JT, there is a container near the trash bins that is marked for recycling propane canisters. Wish this was more common.

Gym climber
above the play park
May 4, 2009 - 01:55am PT
Apparently DNC just spent $48,000 on a propane canister recycling machine for the Valley. This behemoth pokes a hole in the canister and sucks out the remaining gas, which it saves and stores, and then crushes the can flat for recycling.

While 48K sounds like an awfully altruistic sum for the concessioner to fork out, word is that with what they save on disposal fees, plus with a bit of gas for their forklifts, the thing will actually pay for itself in a few years.

This was reported to me the other day by Jesse Chakrin, NPS.
Erik Sloan

May 4, 2009 - 09:36am PT
Wow--that's great news about recycling in Yosemite.

Spread the word!

Trad climber
Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe
May 4, 2009 - 10:02am PT

Those little bottles are an environmental disaster and always run out half way though cooking your meal or heating water for your coffee.

It is ludicrous that anyone with any bit of a conscious about the environment or their hard earned money would use those throw away tanks!! Unless you have traveled to your destination by plane, there is no excuse to not invest in a refillable propane bottle.


Kudos to Yosemite for investing in the recycler. I know a lot of people have traveled on planes and the portable canisters are their only option.


May 4, 2009 - 06:51pm PT
Um, lugging around a multi-gallon propane tank around in the mountains isn't exactly a workable option, whether you flew there or not. Actually if you flew in and out and basecamped, that's the *only* way I could see bringing a behemoth like that along.

Where the heck do you climb that you carry something that big around?

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
May 4, 2009 - 08:10pm PT
yeah! hippie.

Social climber
The Deli
May 4, 2009 - 08:13pm PT
Redneck recycling!

They are quite durable… And sometimes they fly.
Messages 1 - 18 of total 18 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews