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5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

camping snow

Using a gas stove is one of the most convenient ways to ensure you can reliably cook food and heat water when you’re camping, but it’s important to know how to responsibly deal with the gas canisters after they’re empty.

We’ve put together a helpful guide on how to properly, safely, and legally dispose of your camping gas canisters to make sure your camping trips are as eco-friendly and responsible as possible. 

Why Do You Need to Dispose of Gas Canisters Properly?

Camping gas stove cannister
5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

After a camping trip, it’s important to dispose of used gas canisters properly because they contain flammable materials that can create a fire hazard if not handled and disposed of correctly. If you do not dispose of them properly, the gas canisters could either leak or explode due to their chemical composition, leading to property damage and potentially serious injury.

Also, it’s important to acknowledge that improper disposal or mishandling of these canisters may also cause environmental contamination due to the release of hazardous or toxic chemicals, which isn’t what we want as people who enjoy nature and the great outdoors.

Types of Gas Canisters

Camping gas stove
5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

There are multiple types of gas canisters that you may be using in your camping equipment. It’s important to know what kind of gas canister you’re disposing of, as some recycling or disposal centres have rules about the type of gas they can deal with.

You can make the whole process a lot smoother by being informed about the gas you’re using for your camping trips.

Here are some of the most common types of gas canisters used for camping stoves and motorhomes:

  • Butane Canisters
  • Propane Canisters
  • Isobutane Canisters
  • Mixed Fuel Canisters
  • Multi-Fuel Canisters


Where to Take Empty Gas Bottles

Gas stove with mug
5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

We’ve compiled a list of places that we know are able to facilitate responsible gas canister disposal. Each locality will vary in what services stores and recycling centres offer, so make sure you do your own research before turning up with your empty gas canister.

1. Hardware stores

Hardware store
5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

Many hardware stores offer gas bottle disposal services. On a national level, B&Q and Homebase offer gas canister disposal and refill services. There are also likely to be local hardware stores and independent businesses that can also do this for you, although you’ll have to research your area to find out.

Independent stores are likely to charge more for a refill service than larger stores, but they can be the more convenient option if you find yourself in need of a refill when you’re on the road in a remote location.

2. Outdoor Department stores

The majority of major outdoor department stores in the UK, such as Go Outdoors, offer a gas refill service where you can purchase refill gas for your canister.

It’s worth noting that most of these stores won’t offer a recycling service, so if you’re looking to completely dispose of your canister, this isn’t the best choice for you. However, if refilling your gas canister is an option, it’s worth knowing that these stores are an option.

3. Automotive supply stores

Camping stove by water 1
5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

Sometimes automotive supply stores have the required licences to legally dispose of gas canisters. This means that they may be able to take your empty canister off your hands and recycle it for you.

It’s important to do research on the automotive supply stores in your area to make sure they’re able to recycle your gas canisters before making the trip. Even if a national company offers gas canister recycling, your local store may not have the facilities to do so.

4. Gas Canister suppliers

The most obvious place to take your spent gas canisters for disposal is the place you got it from. All gas canister suppliers should have the appropriate licences to safely and legally. 

Returning your canister to the same place you got it from can be the most convenient option for you. Also, some stores operate a discount system for returned canisters, especially if you’re getting them refilled.

5. Recycling Centres

5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

Many recycling centres around the UK are able to take empty gas canisters and dispose of them for you. You should check whether your local recycling centre has the licence and capability to dispose of empty gas canisters to avoid an unnecessary trip.

You can either call your local recycling centre or use an online tool to see what services are offered by the centres in your area.

What Not to Do With Empty Gas Canisters

Camping gas cannister 1
5 Approved Ways To Dispose of Camping Gas Canisters

Now you know the best ways to safely and responsibly dispose of gas canisters, it’s important to know what you shouldn’t do with your empty canisters. 

Improper disposal can be incredibly dangerous and can result in injuries, explosions, and fire. You may be at risk of a fixed penalty notice if you’re found to be improperly disposing of a gas canister.

Here are our top things to avoid when disposing of gas canisters:

  1. Do not refill the empty gas canister with gasoline.
  2. Do not store the empty gas canister indoors or near any open flame.
  3. Do not place the empty gas canister in a hot car or direct sunlight.
  4. Do not puncture, incinerate, or expose the empty gas canister to heat.
  5. Do not leave an empty gas canister in an area where it may be exposed to flammable liquids or gases, such as a garage or workshop.

If you’re concerned about whether your canister is actually empty before you dispose of it, we recommend the JetBoil Crunchit to help you ensure your canisters are completely empty and ready to be safely disposed of.


Find the Perfect Gas Stove at Wood To Water

Disposing of your used gas canisters properly is incredibly important, and you could be at risk of a fixed penalty notice if you fail to follow the correct process. However, it’s also important to make sure you’ve got the right gas stove for your canister. 

Update your camp kitchen set up with the Wood To Water range of high-quality gas stoves with well-known brands like Fire Maple, Highlander and Jetboil.


How Do You Empty a Small Gas Canister?

If you’re not sure whether your gas canister is truly empty, it can be tempting to pierce or burn the canister, but this can be quite dangerous and should be avoided.

Instead, tools such as the Jetboil Crunchit can be used to help you prepare your used gas canisters for safe disposal.

Are Gas Canisters Hazardous Waste?

No, gas canisters are generally not considered hazardous waste in the UK. However, depending on the type of gas contained within them, they may be considered hazardous under certain circumstances.

For example, a canister that contains high levels of carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide is considered hazardous waste, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Can You Dispose of Unused Gas Canisters?

If your gas canister is unused or only partially used, disposing of it isn’t the best option. Instead, you can return it to a store that refills gas canisters.

They can fill it up and sell it again, saving you the hassle of trying to dispose of a half-full gas canister safely, which is almost always more trouble than it’s worth.

Do You Get Money Back For Returning Gas Bottles?

In the UK, it’s rare to get money back for gas canisters unless a company is running a special offer. However, you can take your empty gas canisters to many camping/outdoor shops and exchange them for a full one.

A deposit is typically charged for the new canister, which is refunded when you return it empty.

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