Appropriately disposing of butane cans is vital because it can limit the impact on the environment. In addition to that, you could harm nearby animals or sanitation workers.
There are a few ways to dispose of butane cans for consumers. You can also choose to recycle empty cans if possible.
With that said, here’s what you must keep in mind regarding butane can disposal.
Steps on How to Dispose of Butane Can
The best way to dispose of a butane can is to return the empty can to the store where you bought it. Many retail stores offer that service as they recycle the cans.
In some cases, you may have to pay some money for this service. However, the small price can save you a lot of time and effort.
All retail stores do not offer this facility. Therefore, here are steps for the correct disposal of butane cans if you must do it yourself.
Step 1. Educate Yourself on the Risk Improper Butane Can Disposal Can Have
It’s important to be aware of the effect improper disposal of butane cans can have on the environment.
This way, you can be more inclined to make responsible decisions about the process.
Butane Cans May Contaminate Water
In addition to potentially harming nearby animals and sanitation workers, butane cans contaminate water supplies.
In turn, other living beings, i.e., plants, animals, and humans, are at risk.
Improper Disposal Could Lead to Forest Fires
Moreover, incorrect disposal may even lead to forest fires. Campers often use butane cans.
Thus, as it is a flammable material, it could start a fire if disposed of in the woods. Forest fires could have grave consequences.
If you find an empty can when camping, dispose of it correctly or contact your local hazardous waste facility.
Butane cans could also lead to the poisoning of soil or animals, among other issues.
These issues are exactly why you must not take any risks with disposing of butane cans.
Step 2. Make Sure the Butane Can Is Completely Empty
The second and vital step is to ensure that the butane can is completely empty. You could risk an explosion if you attempt to dispose of it with gas inside.
Butane cans contain compressed air.
Therefore, it can explode if it’s punctured or the pressure increases with excess heat (so, don’t place it under the sun). Emptying the can will prevent that from happening.
Use Your Butane Can Until It’s Empty
It’s also important to note that you should not try to empty the can purposefully to dispose of it. Instead, continue using it until it’s completely finished.
Wasting that remaining gas is not ideal for the environment. In addition to that, you’ll also be wasting a bit of money as you won’t use the can fully.
So, only get it ready for disposal when the gas is finished.
Remove Any Remnants of Gas in the Can
Even if the butane can may seem empty, it will likely contain some remnants of gas. You can remove that by using it to light a fire.
If the flame goes out, you can then go on to get rid of the can.
Step 3. Wear Safety Gloves
Before you move on to the fifth step, you should wear a pair of safety gloves. You’ll need gloves that can protect your hands against sharp tools.
So, your best bet is one made of metal mesh and Kevlar. You could also consider leather gloves that are made for working with tools.
Dealing with sharp tools like a screwdriver, in this case, could lead to injuring yourself. There’s a good chance that the sharp tool could slip and go into your hand.
The protective gloves will keep you from being impaled if that happens.
Step 4. Pick a Suitable Environment for Puncturing the Can
Before going on to step 5, it’s best to pick a suitable environment. Work in an open space when it’s not hot outside.
Heat can make the can more volatile than otherwise. Avoid working near any heat source.
Also, an open environment will allow the traces of gas to escape into the atmosphere. Thus, you won’t breathe in the gas.
At the same time, you should work in an area that isn’t close to an open flame. So, don’t attempt step 5 in your kitchen.
The can could explode if the gas meets a naked flame.
You should also note that it’s best to work on a workbench. The bench will allow you to keep the can stable when you try to puncture it.
Keeping the can stable can help reduce the chances of the puncturing tool slipping. In turn, you’ll reduce the risk of injuring yourself during this process.
Step 5. Puncture the Butane Can
You can use a proper puncturing tool to puncture the empty butane can. You can purchase this tool from your local sports goods store.
If you don’t want to purchase this tool, you can use a screwdriver.
Just remember that a screwdriver may not be as effective as a puncturing tool. Therefore, you may have to put in more effort to puncture the metal can.
In addition to that, you may also damage the tip of your screwdriver. As a result, it may no longer be effective at doing what it was designed to do.
So, you could use an old screwdriver that you don’t usually use.
Hold the butane can firmly with one hand. When you’re confident that it won’t move, insert the puncturing tool into the sidewall of the can.
You will need to apply considerable force to penetrate the metal shell. Thus, it may require a few attempts.
Just be sure not to apply too much pressure that the puncturing tool slips.
Only a small puncture is necessary. The purpose is simply to ensure that there is an empty canister at the end of it.
It’s best to attempt this process alone. Having another person hold the can for you can make it harder for you to keep it stable as you puncture it. Therefore, you will increase the risk of injury.
We cannot stress how critical it is to empty the can fully before trying to puncture it. You could risk a mild but dangerous explosion if compressed gas is in the can.
Step 6. Take the Empty Butane Can to Hazardous Waste Facility or Recycling Facility
You will need to take the can to an appropriate disposal or recycling facility. You cannot throw the empty can in your regular trash.
Doing so could still pose a risk to the environment and animals. In addition to that, you could incur some penalties, depending on the laws in your city or state.
What to Keep in Mind When Recycling a Butane Can
Your best bet is to recycle empty butane cans. Recycling will prevent the cans from going directly into a landfill.
In turn, it will reduce the impact on the environment.
Some recycling facilities may also accept cans that are not punctured. So, you can contact your nearest facility before you carry out step 5. It could save you some effort.
That said, you must still ensure that can is empty before transporting it. A full canister could explode or be an environmental risk.
What to Keep in Mind When Giving a Butane Cans to a Hazardous Waste Facility
If you don’t recycle the butane can, you can hand it over to your nearest hazardous waste facility. Before you take it there, it’s best to call beforehand to ask if they accept butane cans.
You can save yourself a trip that way.
In addition to that, it can help if you ask the facility for any advice on disposal or transportation.
They may provide you with some regulations that are applicable to your state.
In some cases, a hazardous waste facility won’t accept a punctured can. Thus, it’s typically a good idea to ask them before you damage the canister.
What to Do If the Butane Can Still Has a Lot of Gas
Sometimes, users may need to get rid of a butane can that they barely used. This may be because they have no use for it.
In that case, here are some options you can consider.
Give It to a Friend or Family Member
Talk to your friends and family and ask them if they need a butane can. If they do, you can simply hand it over to them. You could also ask your neighbors.
Donate It to a Store or Other Facility
If no one needs it, you could go to the store where you bought it. They may accept it and return a fraction of the money you paid to buy it.
You could also choose to donate it to any facility that may need it. Talk to people around you, or ask people on the internet for more ideas.
Last Few Words
Disposing of hazardous materials like butane can require time and effort. However, it’s necessary, considering you’ll pose less of a risk to the environment.
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