Stunningly Simple: How to Safely Dispose of Camping Propane Tanks

How To Safely Dispose of Camping Propane Tanks

Camping propane tanks are essential pieces of equipment for a camper, as they provide the fuel used to heat an outdoor cookstove, to light up the darkness of night, and to enliven evening conversations around the campfire. However, when it comes time to dispose of camping propane tanks, it’s important to take extra precaution to ensure proper disposal. This guide will provide the necessary steps to safely dispose of your camping propane tanks.

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How to Dispose of Propane Tanks

For the most part, each state has its own individual policies regarding propane tank disposal, so it’s always best to check with your local waste management department for more specific information. Generally, however, for a used/empty propane tank, you can bring it to a waste disposal site or collection center.

  • First, contact and confirm with your local waste management department about where, when, and how you can bring in your camping propane tanks for disposal.
  • Be sure to check that the container is completely empty before taking it to the disposal site.
  • Find out if the tank is able to be recycled as well. Most tanks are made of stainless steel and can be recycled instead of disposed of.
  • If you plan to exchange your tank, be sure to check with the store and make sure they accept exchanges.

It’s important to note that propane tanks that contain a liquid should never be emptied by you or disposed of in the usual methods. The propane must be removed by a professional at a propane filling station.

Proper Disposal Methods

Once you have confirmed which disposal option is right for your used propane tank, it’s essential to follow proper disposal methods. Remember, it only takes one small spark from metal on metal contact to ignite a fire or cause an explosion. Even if your tank is empty, always handle it with care.

  • Wear safety goggles and gloves.
  • Place the tank in the back of your vehicle away from any items that could cause sparks or puncture the tank.
  • Secure the tank by using rope or a heavy duty bungee cord — or better yet, attach the rope or cord to both the tank and the frame of your vehicle. This should help to prevent the tank from shifting and rolling around during transport.
  • Do not attempt to cut, solder, open, or puncture the tank.
  • Avoid any contact with the valves and other moving parts of the container.
  • Do not leave the tank exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures.
  • Never try to move a propane tank that contains liquid fuel.

In order to make sure your camping propane tank is correctly disposed of, here is a helpful video that walks you through the process step-by-step:

Environmental Considerations

It’s important to remain mindful of the environment when disposing of your camping propane tanks. Here are some of the main environmental considerations to be aware of:

  • Propane tanks are made from various metals like steel, aluminum, or copper and should be disposed of correctly.
  • Rinse out the inside of the tank with water from a garden hose to remove any remaining residue.
  • Make sure the tank is completely free of any fuel or residue before disposing of it.
  • If possible, take the tank to a recycling center and recycle instead of disposing of it.


Despite the convenience of camping propane tanks, it’s essential to consider the correct disposal methods before disposing of them. An accidental spark or misplacement of a propane tank can lead to serious injury or harm.

Making sure the propane tank is emptied of all its fuel and disposed of in the correct manner is essential. This guide provided the essential steps to remember when getting rid of your camping propane tanks.

Remember to wear the appropriate clothing, secure the tank, take safety precautions, and double-check the locations you are going to exchange or dispose your tanks. Most of all, have fun camping and be safe!