News Flash

Lebanon Solid Waste News

Posted on: August 12, 2019

Managing Empty Propane Tanks

a collection of propane tanks sitting in a collection area

Barbeque season is in full swing and, with high temperatures like we have been seeing, grilling outside is a great way to prepare dinner without heating up the house. If you are grilling, you know the frustration of coming to end of your propane tank (hopefully, it wasn’t half way through those BBQ chicken wings!).

What NOT to do with your empties.

So, what do you do with empty propane tanks when you no longer need them? Let us explain what you shouldn’t do before we tell you what you should do. 

First, please do not throw them away with your regular trash. Pressurized tanks of any size usually contain some propane and need to be handled safely. It can be impossible to tell whether tanks are completely empty. This puts our workers at serious risk when they use landfill equipment to crush, compact, or move landfill trash. Please help keep them safe!

Second, we also ask that you do not throw them into our metal recycling bins. Our scrap metal vendor does not accept propane tanks as they also face very high explosion risks and damage costs should one of these tanks get into their system. 

Third, you should never tamper with propane tanks. They are under pressure and contain a flammable, hazardous gas. Removing a valve or puncturing a tank could create a spark resulting in a fire or explosion. Tampering with propane tanks does not make them recyclable (see above). 

What to DO with your empties. 

Now that you know what NOT to do, let us explain your options for safely managing empty propane tanks.  

Refill them! 

There are several locations throughout the Upper Valley that will refill your empty 20lb propane tanks. Some locations will simply refill your existing tank while others offer a tank swap program. Refilling a tank is a great way to not end up with multiple empty tanks in your wood shed or garage. 

Locations that do refill or swap will only fill tanks that have a valve with an overflow protection device. These valves don’t allow a tank to be overfilled. They also prevent a tank from being vented. Opening the valve on a tank will not “release” the propane.  

❗ You should never refill a disposable 1 lb DOT 39 cylinder. Please see recycling information below for proper disposal of these popular camping sized cylinders.

Recycle them! 

If you do have empty tanks, the Lebanon Solid Waste Facility will accept them for a fee (1 punch per small 1lb cylinder and 8 punches for all others on a landfill card). Our tanks are collected and managed by a qualified tank recycling company. 

Some area propane companies may also accept 20lb propane tanks for recycling. For example, see the “Drop, Swap, and Go” program offered by Blue Rhino retailers. Blue Rhino will accept tanks and recycle them at no cost to you. You can drop any tank at a Blue Rhino retailer by using their store locator or by texting FIND to 75653. 

Enjoy and be safe! 

This summer enjoy those burgers on the grill, follow proper grilling safety tips, and be sure to properly handle your propane tank at the end of the season. As always, if you have questions about how to dispose or recycle an item, please feel free to contact me at marc.morgan@lebanonnh.gov

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