Taking the “Pressure” out of Recycling Propane & Helium

July 12, 2019

It’s BBQ and party season! Once we’ve chowed down on our burgers and taken down all the party balloons, what comes next for our propane tanks and helium cylinders? The rules for recycling pressurized gases and liquids in tanks and cylinders is tough because these items are considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). Placing these items in your blue cart or bin and walking away is dangerous! So, what can you do to properly recycle these items? 

Option (1) Household Hazardous Waste Days

Please take these items to a specified Household Hazardous Waste Day if your community participates in them. Propane tanks and helium cylinders are most often accepted, but there are stipulations on the container size, original labeling, and if it still has leftover contents. We recommend storing your empty tanks and cylinders in a cool, well-ventilated location and dropping them off when an event is being hosted. Please call before you drop them off as each community/company has their own rules on allowable items. Contact your community to see when the next available event will be taking place. For Saskatoonians, click here!

Option (2) Take-back Programs, Reuse, and Rent

For propane tanks, the best option is to reuse and refill them. If your tank has expired, some vendors have take-back programs that will allow you to exchange the tank and fill a new one; fees may apply.

For helium cylinders, there are not as many options for recycling and most are not designed to be refilled after each use. Instead of using single-use tanks, there are some novelty stores that have refillable tanks for rent that you could use instead.

Option (3) Scrap Metals Dealers

Propane tanks and helium cylinders often have the recycling symbol ♻ on them. Why? It is the manufacturer’s way to inform consumers that the product contains recycled content; likely being made from recycled metal. Some metals recycling dealers will accept propane tanks if they are bled off or the valve has been removed. Each company/service will have their own rules to protect their employee’s safety so always ensure you always call and ask before you drop off.

With all three options above, please call and talk to a representative to understand the rules of their programs and if they are able to safely accept your item. The rule of thumb when it comes to recycling hazardous waste or any “waste” in general is, “Know before you throw.” This is important to keep all those working in the waste and recycling industry safe. Want to learn more? Follow us on social media @LoraasYXE for the most up to date information about HHW and reminders on HHW days.

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