Recycling Propane Tanks: From Disposal to Repurposing, Here’s What You Need to Know!

March 14, 2022 in environment, recycling

Article summary and Key takeaways: Propane tanks can be recycled, but not all tanks are accepted. Damaged or corroded tanks may not be accepted for recycling, and tanks older than 12 years may also be rejected. Recycling centers, propane tank exchange programs, and some retailers accept propane tanks for recycling. Small propane tanks should be taken to hazardous waste facilities or designated collection events for proper disposal. Old propane tanks can be repurposed as storage containers, converted into smokers or grills, or recycled for scrap metal. Empty propane tanks are not commonly bought by individuals, but scrap metal recycling facilities purchase them for recycling purposes. Recycling propane tanks is important for reducing waste and conserving resources.

Can You Recycle Propane Tanks?

Propane tanks are a common household item that many people use to fuel their grills, heaters, and other appliances. However, once these tanks are empty, what should you do with them? Can you recycle propane tanks? In this article, we will explore the recycling process for propane tanks, where to recycle them, how to dispose of small propane tanks, and what to do with old propane tanks.

Can You Recycle Propane Tanks?

Yes, propane tanks can be recycled! Recycling propane tanks is not only good for the environment but also helps to conserve valuable resources. The recycling process for propane tanks begins by safely emptying any remaining propane gas. Once the tanks are empty, they can be taken to a recycling facility where they will be properly processed.

It’s important to note that not all propane tanks can be recycled. Propane tanks that are damaged or corroded may not be accepted for recycling, as they can pose a safety risk. Additionally, propane tanks that are older than 12 years may also be rejected for recycling. It is best to check with your local recycling center or propane retailer to determine if they accept propane tanks for recycling.

A common question that arises when discussing recycling is whether propane tanks can be recycled for money. While some recycling centers may offer a small compensation for propane tanks, it is not a common practice. The primary goal of recycling propane tanks is to divert them from landfills and reduce their environmental impact, rather than for monetary gain.

Where to Recycle Propane Tanks

There are several options for recycling propane tanks. Here are some potential locations where you can take your empty tanks:

1. Local recycling centers:

Many cities have recycling centers that accept propane tanks. These centers have the proper equipment and knowledge to safely handle and recycle the tanks. Check with your local government or waste management department for information on recycling centers in your area.

2. Propane tank exchange programs:

Some propane retailers offer tank exchange programs where you can bring in your empty tank and exchange it for a full one. These programs often include recycling as part of their process, ensuring that the empty tanks are properly disposed of and recycled.

3. Retailers that accept propane tanks for recycling:

Large retailers like Home Depot and Lowes often have recycling programs in place for various items, including propane tanks. While not all locations may accept propane tanks, it is worth checking with your local store to see if they have a recycling program in place.

Addressing the question of whether Home Depot and Lowes recycle propane tanks:

Both Home Depot and Lowes have recycling programs in place, but their policies on propane tank recycling may vary by location. It is best to contact your local store directly or check their website for information on whether they accept propane tanks for recycling.

How to Dispose of Small Propane Tanks

Small propane tanks, such as those used for camping or portable heaters, require special disposal methods. These tanks should never be thrown in the trash or placed in recycling bins. Instead, they should be taken to a hazardous waste facility or a designated collection event in your area.

Improper disposal of small propane tanks can pose serious safety hazards. Even when empty, these tanks can still contain residual propane gas, which is highly flammable. If these tanks are not disposed of properly, they can cause fires or explosions. It is crucial to follow the recommended disposal methods to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Addressing the question of how to dispose of camping propane tanks:

To dispose of camping propane tanks, check with your local waste management department or hazardous waste facility for instructions. They will provide information on designated collection events or drop-off locations where you can safely dispose of these small tanks.

What to Do with Old Propane Tanks

If you have old propane tanks that are no longer in use, there are several options for repurposing or reusing them. Here are some suggestions:

1. Repurpose as a storage container:

Empty propane tanks can be cleaned and repurposed as storage containers for various items. They can be used to store gardening tools, sports equipment, or even as a trash can. Get creative and find a new use for your old propane tanks!

2. Convert into a smoker or grill:

If you enjoy grilling or smoking food, you can convert an old propane tank into a homemade smoker or grill. There are plenty of DIY tutorials available online that provide step-by-step instructions on how to safely transform your tank into a cooking appliance.

3. Recycle for scrap metal:

If repurposing is not an option for you, you can take your old propane tanks to a scrap metal recycling facility. These facilities will dismantle the tanks and recycle the metal components. While you may not receive monetary compensation for the tanks, you will be contributing to the recycling of valuable resources.

Addressing the question of who buys empty propane tanks:

Empty propane tanks are not commonly bought by individuals, as their primary value lies in their scrap metal content. However, scrap metal recycling facilities purchase empty propane tanks for recycling purposes. Contact your local scrap metal recycler for more information on their purchasing policies.


Recycling propane tanks is an important step in reducing waste and conserving resources. By properly disposing of empty tanks, we can avoid potential safety hazards and ensure that valuable materials are recycled. Whether you choose to recycle your propane tanks at a local recycling center, participate in a tank exchange program, or repurpose them for other uses, each option contributes to a more sustainable future.

Remember to always check with your local recycling center or propane retailer for specific guidelines on recycling propane tanks in your area. By doing so, you can make a positive impact on the environment and be a responsible steward of our resources.

Question: What do I do with old propane tanks near me?
Answer: Contact your local recycling center or hazardous waste facility for proper disposal options.

Question: Are empty propane tanks worth money?
Answer: Empty propane tanks may have some value, but it varies depending on the size and condition. Contact local scrap metal yards or propane suppliers for more information.

Question: Does Lowes recycle small propane tanks?
Answer: Lowes does not typically recycle small propane tanks. Contact your local recycling center or hazardous waste facility for proper disposal options.

Question: How do you dispose of camping propane tanks?
Answer: Check with your local recycling center or hazardous waste facility for proper disposal options. Some camping stores may also offer tank exchange programs.


About the author 

Jordan Miller

Hi there, I'm Jordan! I graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Environmental Policy, but my real education has been in the field, turning theory into practice. My days are filled with implementing sustainable solutions and teaching communities how to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle. I believe small changes can make a big impact, and I'm here to guide you through every step of going green.