How To Dispose of Coleman Propane Tanks, Fuel Canisters?


When your Coleman propane tank or fuel canisters has come to the end of their lifespan, you may be wondering how to dispose of them. Coleman propane tanks can’t be placed in the trash, so you will need to do some research to find out which local recycling facilities near you accept propane tanks.

If you don’t recycle your Coleman propane tank the right way, it could be very dangerous. Before you get rid of that old tank, you should know what to do with it.

Keep reading to find out how to dispose of Coleman propane tanks the right way.

What Is A Coleman Propane Tank?

Coleman is a brand that is well-known for the fuel they provide to propane appliances. What makes these propane tanks different is that they are pressurized cylinders.

Many campers prefer using them to fuel lanterns and grills because there is no pouring or pumping required. 

A popular choice for campers is the 1 lb Coleman propane tank. It’s easy to take anywhere and affordable to refill. However, even though many people refill their Coleman propane tanks, they can only handle being refilled so many times.

Eventually, they will need to be disposed of.

What You Should Avoid Doing When Disposing Of A Coleman Propane Tank

When it’s time to get rid of that old Coleman propane tank, you should avoid throwing it directly in the trash or recycling bin.

Even though you are finished with it, there is likely still some fuel left in the tank. This creates a huge hazard for the people at the garbage and recycling facility.

The main reason why this is so dangerous is that everything that gets thrown out gets compressed at the facility.

If there is any leftover fuel in the tank (which there likely is) it could explode. There have been occasions where Coleman propane tanks caught fire in the recycling facility’s baler.

How To Safely Dispose Of A Coleman Propane Tank

Before disposing of your Coleman propane tank, always determine whether or not it really needs to be disposed of. If the tank is still in decent condition, you could still get more use out of it.

With the use of a propane refill adapter, you will be able to refill the tank. However, if you’re ready to get rid of the Coleman propane tank, you should check it over first.

Check Your Coleman Propane Tank

It’s a good idea to always examine your tank. While you may think it’s time to throw it out, there is a chance it could still get some use.

Here is what you should look for when you check your Coleman propane tank to know whether or not you can refill it or need to dispose of it:

  • Look for any damage or rust to the exterior
  • Check to see if any seals are damaged or missing
  • Make sure there is no rust, dirt, or debris around the valves
  • Check for leaks (If there is a rotten egg odor or you hear hissing when the tank is on, there is likely a leak

After giving your Coleman propane tank an inspection, if you notice any of the above signs, it is more than likely time to dispose of your tank. 

Research Local Facilities

When it comes to disposing of a Coleman propane tank, every region is different. Some locations have a local propane cylinder dealer that will accept old or damaged propane tanks.

There may even be a local recycling facility or recycling program that accepts them as well. If there is, this can make your life much easier because some will accept the tanks as is.

If you are using a Coleman propane tank at a camping facility or national park, check their rules and regulations. Some campsites have programs in place where they accept customers’ used propane tanks. 

This can be one of the most frustrating parts of the disposing process. If you are having trouble finding a recycling program that will accept used propane tanks, contact your local municipality office. Many municipalities will have household hazardous waste events.

These are only held on specific dates, and you must have services within the municipality to drop a tank off. 

Always Empty Your Coleman Propane Tank Before You Dispose Of It

Once you determine how you are going to dispose of your old Coleman propane tank, you will need to get it ready.

For safety reasons, you should never dispose of a propane tank that still has fuel in it. Even the slightest amount of fuel left in the bottom of the tank can cause a huge hazard.

Emptying a Coleman propane tank is very easy. All you need to do is connect to a propane appliance and let the gas run out.

We recommend connecting a lantern because you don’t want to deal with a propane tank running out in the middle of cooking food on the grill. 

It may take a while for the Coleman propane tank to completely empty, despite how small it may be. As the tank’s fuel levels decrease, the gas burns slower because of how the pressure shifts. We recommend always emptying the Coleman propane tank outdoors.

You should also keep it away from open flames and other ignition sources.

Make sure you keep the propane tank’s valve open for a while after the flame has died off. There will still be vapor left in the tank and you’ll want to give it a chance to seep out.

Allowing the tank to continue running after the flame is out will give it a chance to burn off all the vapor and make the recycling process safer.

Puncture The Empty Coleman Propane Tank

Many employees at the recycling facility are nervous about compressing Coleman propane tanks because of the risk of the remaining fuel that could be left in the tank.

You can make the recycling process a lot safe for everyone involved if you puncture the old Coleman propane tank before you dispose of it.

Always make sure the tank is completely empty before moving on to this step. Now, there are many ways that you can puncture your Coleman propane tank.

This will all depend on which tools you have available. One of the best tools for the job is the Jetboil Crunchit, which is designed for recycling fuel canisters.

However, we realize that most of our readers probably don’t have that in their toolbox. You can achieve the same results with a hammer and nails.

Make sure you cover the Coleman propane tank with an old rag first to prevent sparks. After you have punctured the tank, label it so the employees at the recycling facility know it’s safe.  

How To Refill A Coleman Propane Tank

If you have checked over your Coleman propane tank and it still appears in good condition, you can refill it instead of disposing of it. Make sure the propane refill adapter is the right fit for your Coleman propane tank before you start.

You can get fuel directly from a 20 lb propane tank.

Read also: RV Propane Refill Near Me – Stations & Locations [UPDATED]

All you will need to do is open the valve to fill the Coleman tank. Make sure you don’t have any distractions around because you will need to listen to tell when the Coleman propane tank is filled.

As the tank is filling, you will hear the fuel passing through. Once that noise stops, it means the Coleman tank is full.

HOW TO REFILL Coleman Propane 1lb Fuel Cylinder Canister Tanks Bottles DIY For DIRT CHEAP – The Right Way and Save $$ >> Check out the video below:

Why Many People Have Difficulty Recycling Coleman Propane Tanks

Back in 2008, Coleman teamed up with Green Key to provide a tool to make recycling easier. This Green Key tool was made to make puncturing and completely emptying the propane tanks easier for safe recycling.

At the time of their release, one would come with each Coleman tank. They were even available to order on Coleman’s official website.

However, many recycling programs didn’t take well to this tool. While customers loved that it made the recycling process easier, many recycling facilities weren’t happy about the tanks being found in recycling bins.

This caused the company to discontinue them in 2010.

Since then, many customers have found the disposing process to be overly complicated. While they do have the option to purchase a Jetboil Crunchit, they aren’t as easily available as the Green Key tool was. 

How to Dispose of Coleman Fuel Canisters

Many fuel canisters are made of steel so that they can be recycled with soda cans.

You need to take your Coleman fuel canister and burn off any residual fuel.

Next step, you need to puncture the empty canisters to ensure there is no pressure.

Then you can put the punctured canisters in a recycle bin in some regions.

How to Recycle Your Fuel Canister >> Check out the video below:

Final Thoughts

If you don’t dispose of your Coleman propane tank safely, you could create a major safety problem for your local recycling facility. Never place your old propane tank in the garbage or recycling bin.

Instead, you will need to contact your local municipality to find out how you can safely recycle the old tank.

Before you get rid of your old Coleman propane tank, make sure it is completely empty. After emptying it, you should also puncture the tank so the recycling facility knows that all the fuel and vapor have been released.

This will ensure that they can safely recycle the old tank.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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