Gas bottles are used for a number of purposes from holding helium for birthday balloons to camping gas for outdoor cooking and giant gas cylinders for industrial purposes. However, you can’t just throw them in the bin. We take a look at everything you need to know about gas bottles and how to recycle or dispose of them responsibly.
The history of gas bottles
Gas bottles have been used for decades and the techniques used to pressurise and store gas have been constantly developing.
How are gas bottles made?
Gas bottles are usually made from incredibly strong stainless steel which has no welds and is treated against corrosion. Because they have to hold so much pressure they have to be sturdy and stored carefully if they are transported. Gas can also be compressed and stored in carbon steel and aluminium bottles too. There have also been developments in using carbon fibre reinforced polymer to store bottled gas but steel gas bottles are far more common. They are made using a variety of construction methods including;
– metal only high-pressure vessels
– vessels with a thin metal liner
– bottles with a metal-free liner made from plastic
– metal vessels which are hoop wrapped by a fibre composite
Gas bottle disposal
How should you dispose of your gas bottle?
You can’t simply throw away gas bottles as they may still contain some pressurised gas and can be extremely flammable. Many companies will accept your empty gas bottles and refill them, so you don’t have to worry about disposing of them. If you are using bottled gas on an industrial scale, there are companies that will safely collect, recycle and reuse gas bottles directly from your site. However, if you are just using BBQ gas canisters or you have an empty helium container, it’s worth trying to find a local recycling centre or contacting the manufacturer to return it.
Recycling gas bottles
How are gas bottles recycled?
As many gas bottle suppliers will reuse and refill empty gas bottles they can be used for many years, in some cases up to twenty years. Once gas bottles have been used for their whole lifespan they can be broken down into parts that can be reused in a range of applications. If there is any gas remaining in the bottle it can be extracted and used in other industrial processes. The valve can be removed and reused on other bottles or recycled for the metal. The sheet metal used to make the cylinder can be recycled and turned into a variety of other products.
Problems with gas bottle waste
There are numerous dangers associated with gas bottle taste, as they contain highly flammable materials and the gas is highly pressurised before being put into the container. If you have a gas canister that is leaking or faulty, you need to consider getting rid of it as soon as possible. Gas cylinders could potentially explode if they are crushed so if you put them in your recycling or rubbish bin it could be incredibly dangerous.
Alternatives to gas bottles
If you are worried about the environmental impact of gas bottles, there are a number of alternatives to throwing them out, including returning them to the manufacturer or getting a plan for refillable gas canisters. Consider using less bottled gas by switching to other more low-impact fuels like solar-powered camping stoves. Because gas bottles are highly flammable, they’re not a good idea for DIY projects or keeping around the home, so it’s important you dispose of them responsibly.
How to get rid of gas bottles
If you have gas bottles that are empty, the first thing you should do is try and return them to the supplier. If that isn’t possible many local authorities will accept gas bottles at a local recycling centre. It’s important to make sure you can leave your empty gas bottles at the recycling centre before you go as they need special storage. Some recycling companies will collect gas bottles depending on what they contain, so pay attention to the warning labels and follow instructions for disposal carefully.
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