Can You Recycle Butane Cans? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

If you’ve been camping, you probably know the importance of a butane canister. The gas canister holds gas for your cooking while you camp and can be a safer alternative to other cooking options outdoors, as they help to prevent wildfires or cooking accidents.

Therefore, if you’ve finished camping and have a bunch of old butane cans around, you may be wondering if you can recycle them. Read on to see how you can recycle them, why you should, and the most important step of all: how to let the gas out of the canister to prevent injury. 

Can You Recycle Butane Cans?

Butane cans can be recycled, but they need to be recycled at a hazardous waste facility, and only after you’ve completely let out the gas from the canister. Butane is like other gases, it is flammable. Therefore, you must recycle your butane can when you are finished with it carefully so you won’t cause a fire or explosion. 

Continue reading to find out ways to empty your butane canisters safely and how to recycle them!

Why Let Out The Gas From A Butane Can? 

You can’t bring a full butane can or an almost empty can to the recycling facility. You need to make sure it’s empty first, and here is why:

  • It’s safer for the environment 
  • You’ll prevent fires or potential small explosions in a recycling or trash yard 
  • You can recycle the metal from your butane can
  • Hazardous recycling plants will not accept your butane can if you don’t 
  • The can won’t stay stuck in your house for years without a purpose 

So now that you know the importance of letting out the gas before you recycle, how do you do it? It’s easier than you might think. 

Steps To Emptying A Butane Can For Recycling

  1. Burn out as much of the remaining gas as you can from the can. Do not dispose of it immediately afterward. Go to the next step. 
  2. Find or select a sturdy metal tool that can easily pierce the can. This might be something like a screwdriver, blade, or pointy metal stick. 
  3. Wear gloves before attempting to use any sharp tool on your can to prevent the gas from hurting your skin. 
  4. Pierce the side of the butane can with the tool 
  5. Allow the gas to leave the can. Leave it out for a few hours and limit your exposure to the gas. 
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However, if you’re not comfortable piercing the can, you can also get rid of the gas by cooking it away. 

This involves using the gas for cooking until it runs out. You’ll know the gas has run out when no more flame can be made, and there’s no gas leaving the canister. 

If you choose to cook away the butane gas, make double sure that the gas has actually left the can and it’s not just malfunctioning. 

How To Avoid Injury When Recycling A Butane Can 

During the process of releasing the gas and disposing of the butane can, you might be worried about getting injured. 

This is a normal fear, as gas can be dangerous and is very flammable. 

Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk of getting burnt or having metal explode in your face.

For this reason, using safety tools can protect you. Some tips on keeping safe when working with a butane are: 

  • Wear tough gloves that are not easily pierced. Some gardening gloves, motorcycle gloves, or even hiking gloves can do the trick. 
  • Wear goggles if you’re worried about gas getting in your eyes or a possible explosion. 
  • Wear a long-sleeve shirt and jeans when working with the can. 
  • Do the work outside and make sure you’re not near anything flammable such as long dry grasses. 
  • When you go to dispose of your can at a recycling center, make sure all the gas has left it before you put it in your car to dispose of it. 
  • Don’t throw the can in the trash at your home. 
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If you follow these steps, it’s unlikely any accident would happen with your butane can.

Additionally, check out this YouTube video for more information on the safety and recycling of your butane can. 

The video will show you visually how you can pierce the can and give tips on where to dispose of it. 

Recycling Centers For Butane Cans 

Recycling Centers For Butane Cans 

If you’ve followed the first two steps of recycling your butane cans and have released the gas while staying safe, you’re ready to recycle it! 

However, before recycling your used butane canister, check out this information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

There they explain what is considered hazardous waste and some ideas for how to dispose of it that is best for the environment. 

The best way to find a hazardous waste center in your area is to check Google Maps, your local hazardous waste facility should come up. 

Before taking the can to a hazardous waste facility, do the following: 

  • Check the website for the hazardous waste facility where you want to dispose of your can to see what their policies are and if they’ll accept butane cans. 
  • See if there’s a price for disposing of your butane can with them.
  • Read the rules for your specific facility to see if you have to take any further steps before recycling your can. 
  • Look elsewhere if you can’t find a facility near you. You might have to check in a larger town near you. 

Once you’re certain that you’ve got all the information down, you can take your can to your local facility and dispose of it. 

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Then, the facility will generally lead you to an area where you can throw the can in, and it’ll be recycled along with other hazardous waste materials. 

Can You Throw Butane Cans In The Trash? 

If you do not want to recycle your can, is there a way for you to throw it in the trash? 

You cannot and should not ever throw a butane can into the trash. 

Many municipalities have rules against disposing of hazardous materials in the trash, and if you’re found out, you can be fined quite a lot of money. 

Therefore, it’s better to make sure you’re responsible with your used cans and disposing of them properly. 

Recycling centers for hazardous materials exist in every area, and if you’re in a small outlier town, you might have to take a trip to the closest city or large town to find one. 

Although maybe inconvenient, it is worth more than getting a fine or causing harm to the environment. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle postcards, whether you can recycle soft and hard cover books, and whether you can recycle plastic plant pots.


Recycling your butane cans might sound like a lot of work, but it’s really important to do, and doing so in the proper manner will keep the environment and yourself safe. 

However, if you’re worried about the possible danger of working with butane gas, make sure to use personal protective gear and stay away from flammable material, flames, and heat. Your butane gas cannot explode if you’re not near flames or high levels of heat. 


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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