How To Dispose Of Fuel Canisters
For avid campers, a fuel canister is nothing new in the camping bag.
It is mighty useful for when you need to cook in the woods. Gone are the days of getting chafed fingers from rubbing two rocks together to create fire, thanks to these fuel canisters.
Of course, fuel canisters do not just come in the compact size and can come in varying ranges from really lightweight to heavier and bulkier ones.
However, they are definitely one of the best inventions since sliced bread.
The issue now is disposal.
Why is it unsafe to dispose of fuel canisters recklessly?
It is normally never recommended to place fuel canisters with average garbage unless it has been properly dealt with.
This is because fuel canisters contain a lot of pressurised gas which could pose a threat to you, the people handling the garbage, and anyone in the vicinity.
As we know, we rub two rocks together to generate a spark to get the fire going.
In the case of the fuel canisters, when it gets crushed, the metal pieces interact which can create a spark that will light up the pressurised gas within which is flammable.
The result could be a deadly explosion or fire which can cause lives to be lost.
As such, it is always good for those who use fuel canisters frequently to learn of the proper methods to deal with them.
What are some of the common solutions?
- Check with your local recycling center, there are certain places that allow fuel canisters to be easily disposed of along with the recyclables.
- There are places that have been specially set up to handle hazardous waste and even have crews that are specially trained to handle the disposal of such entities. Some of them can even cover from collection all the way to disposal which makes it more convenient for those looking to dispose of their fuel canisters. Most of the time, the services are free and some of the time, it might come with a small fee. But, the small fee really goes a long way to ensuring the responsible disposal of fuel canisters ensuring that danger is minimized. Furthermore, you will no longer be burdened with the fuel canisters.
- Similar to the above, there are also places that have gas bottle exchange programs that do not directly handle the recycling of the fuel canisters but ensure that these canisters are safe for recycling. This is because their main aim is to recycle the remaining gas in the canisters. So, it is a win-win situation for all. They will remove the valve to indicate to those who will handle the recycling that the canister has been emptied of gas.
- Return it back to the source. Depending on the company that you have purchased the fuel canister from, some may have initiatives where they recollect the used canisters. Check on the company’s website for any such initiatives. It would free up a lot of trouble for you if the company was willing to collect them.
What if I want to do it myself?
We understand that some may find it troublesome to fork out a fee or make your way halfway across town just to have the canisters emptied.
This is why we have this section for those who want to empty the cans themselves.
The only thing to take note of is that you must make sure that the canisters are really empty as the ones at real harm are those who will eventually be coming into contact with the canisters.
Step 1: Allow excess gas to drain out
This is the first and most important step that cannot be skipped.
Please do not skip to the second step as puncturing the thing with excess gas in the canister could harm you as well.
So, what you can do is to simply attach the canister to the apparatus that you used it with.
In the case of campers, you can attach it to the stove and burn off the remaining gas. It is recommended that this is done outside to prevent any flammable items from coming into contact with the open flame.
Remember to keep your eyes on it and not leave the flame unattended.
When the flame starts to sputter and die out, allow it to sit as it is for a while to ensure that the remaining gas has been expelled fully.
This may take some time but as we mentioned previously, it will really go a long way to protecting you and others from potential catastrophic harm.
Step 2: Begin puncturing the canisters
After allowing the gas to be released, the next step is to puncture the bottle so that the bottle will not be so pressurised.
There are many tools that you can purchase to do the job, that is if you are a frequent consumer of these canisters. Otherwise, the simple hammer and nails can also do the job.
Of course, this brings another concern, it is metal interacting with metal and that could bring about unwanted sparks.
We completely understand that concern, which is why you can opt to use a rag in this process.
Simply place the rag over the canister before hammering into it and that will prevent the sparks from forming.
This step is important even if you believe that you have emptied the can in step one.
It is to prevent further complications during the recycling process where the cans are crushed.
Remember to make the punctures obvious enough and make the necessary labels so that workers at recycling centres feel secured in approaching them.
Step 3: Contact nearby recycling centres for collection
Do not worry as you do not have to source for a specially trained centre.
If the canisters are empty, it is generally quite easy to source for a centre that is willing to accept them.
So, a simple search for the nearest recycling centre should do the trick.
All in all, we hope that everyone can practice safe and responsible recycling of fuel canisters for the sake of themselves and everyone in the community!