two pink gas bottles.
Gas Bottle Disposal

Gas Bottle Disposal and Recycling

Gas bottles are used for many things at home and work – from filling helium birthday balloons and using camping gas for outdoor cooking, to giant gas cylinders for industrial purposes. Once you’ve used gas bottles though, you can’t just throw them in the bin alongside your other general waste or recyclables.

Disposing of gas bottles must be done in a safe and proper manner to protect human health and the environment, due to their hazardous contents. Discover everything you need to know about responsible disposal of gas bottles, cylinders, and canisters, so you understand how to recycle gas bottles used in your home or business.

What to do with 
old gas cylinders

It’s important that you recycle old gas bottles, cylinders, and canisters when they’re empty. Most are made from metal, usually steel or aluminium, which are both highly recyclable. When you recycle gas canisters, bottles, and cylinders it avoids them ending up in landfill and harming the environment – especially if any remaining gas leaches into the ground, water, and air.

There are a few ways you can recycle old gas cylinders:

  • Return old gas cylinders – businesses and households can return gas cylinders to the original supplier. They will either refill and reuse them or arrange their recycling.
  • Arrange commercial waste collection – companies can book collection of your old gas bottle and cylinders by licensed waste carriers. At Business Waste we can remove your old gas cylinders and transport them to a nearby waste management facility for recycling.
  • Visit your local recycling centre – you should not dispose of gas bottles, canisters, or cylinders with your household waste or recycling, as there’s a risk it may explode if pressure is applied. Check with your local authority if any nearby household recycling centres accept gas bottles and where to leave them if they do.

Returning gas bottles

Making gas bottle returns is often the easiest way to get rid of your empty gas cylinders, canisters, and bottles. Many suppliers, retailers, and other companies have schemes in place for returning gas bottles. You can normally take them back to where you originally bought them, or they may offer a collection service.

Returning gas bottles can also be financially rewarding, as some companies offer a partial refund or return a deposit. The refund you could receive will depend on the original cost, when you purchased the gas bottle, and where you return it. However, you’ll need your original paperwork and must make the returns with the relevant company to qualify.

Even if you don’t get a refund, schemes for gas bottle returns should ensure the cylinders, canisters, or bottles are reused or recycled. The company may take your empty bottle and provide you with a new full one in its place if required. They’ll then either refill it for resale or ensure the bottle is safely emptied and arrange recycling.

gas cylinder stood up on trolley.

How are gas 
bottles recycled?

As many gas bottle suppliers reuse and refill empty gas bottles, they can be used for up to twenty years in some cases – before they need recycling. Once gas bottles reach the end of their lifespan, they’re recycled in a similar way to fire extinguishers. Old gas bottles are broken down into parts for reuse or recycling.

Any remaining gas or substances are extracted and recovered first, for storage and reuse in other industrial processes. The valve is removed and might be reused on other bottles or recycled for the metal. Any remaining steel or other sheet metal used to make the cylinder will be sent for metal recycling and turned into a variety of other products.

Arrange gas cylinder disposal 
for your business

Get rid of old gas bottles from your business in a safe, legal, and green way with Business Waste. We can arrange collections wherever your company is in the UK and whatever type, size, and amount of gas cylinders, bottles, and canisters you have.

Enjoy free bins to store your gas bottles, cylinders, and canisters if needed – we’ll deliver them, you just pay for collection. This way you can keep many empty gas bottles together and arrange fewer collections for cost-effective removals. You can arrange collection as a one-off or on a daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis.

Our licensed waste carriers will collect your empty gas bottles at an agreed time and date. They’ll transport them to a local waste management facility for proper processing and recycling. This ensures all your old gas bottles are disposed of safely and recycled, helping protect the environment.

Contact us online or call 0800 211 8390 for a free quote for gas cylinder collection, disposal, and recycling. Speak to our friendly and expert team with any questions you have, and they’ll provide a tailored quote based on your exact needs for gas bottle disposal.

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Disposing of gas bottles

  • What are gas bottles made from?

    Gas bottles are usually made from incredibly strong stainless steel that has no welds and is treated against corrosion. Because they hold so much pressure, gas bottles must be sturdy and stored carefully when transported. Gas can also be compressed and stored in carbon steel and aluminium bottles.

    There have also been developments in using carbon fibre reinforced polymer to store bottled gas, but steel gas bottles are still much more common. They’re 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 that are hoop wrapped by a fibre composite
  • What type of waste are gas bottles?

    Most gas bottles class as hazardous waste due to the substances they contain – whether you need to get rid of full or empty gas bottles. Improper gas bottle disposal can lead to explosions and pollution if any remaining substances leak into soil or water. It depends on what the gas bottles held though, as some are not a type of hazardous waste.

    Once an empty gas bottle is cleaned and ready to recycle, it’s usually a form of metal waste. Steel and aluminium gas bottles can sometimes be recycled alongside other waste metal.

  • How do you dispose of gas bottles?

    You can’t throw away gas bottles with your general waste or recyclables at home or work, as they may still contain some pressurised gas that can be extremely flammable. Rather than disposing of gas bottles, many companies accept empty gas bottles and refill them, so you don’t have to worry about disposal.

    If you use bottled gas on an industrial scale, there are companies that will safely collect, recycle, and reuse gas bottles directly from your site. You can arrange commercial waste collection with Business Waste, to remove your old gas cylinders and take to an appropriate facility for reuse.

    However, if you just use BBQ gas canisters or you have an empty helium container at home that you don’t need to reuse, there are other options. The best way to dispose of gas cylinders and canisters here is to find a local recycling centre that accepts them or contact the manufacturer to see if they have a process for returning gas bottles.

  • What are the problems with gas bottle waste?

    There are numerous dangers associated with used gas bottles and their waste. They contain highly flammable materials, and the gas is highly pressurised before being put into the container. If you have a gas canister that’s leaking or faulty, you should get rid of it as safely and soon as possible.

    Gas cylinders could potentially explode if they’re crushed – even when you think they’re empty. Putting them in your recycling or rubbish bin could be incredibly dangerous and harm anyone who handles such waste. Therefore, it’s essential you dispose of gas cylinders, canisters, and bottles responsibly.

  • Are there alternatives to gas bottles?

    Gas bottles are fairly environmentally friendly as you can reuse them for many years and they’re recyclable. However, if you’re worried about the environmental impact of gas bottles, there are alternatives to throwing them out, including returning gas bottles to the manufacturer or using 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 these alternatives can be a safer option too.

  • How can I get rid of gas bottles?

    If you have empty gas bottles, the first thing you should do is try and return them to the supplier. If that isn’t possible many local authorities accept old 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. Check the warning labels and follow instructions for disposal carefully.

    If you run a business, you need to arrange commercial waste collection of any gas bottles, cylinders, or canisters by licensed waste carriers. Contact us today as at Business Waste we can collect and recycle gas bottles wherever your company is in the UK.

Learn about more 
waste types

Find out more about other rubbish streams.

Read our guides to waste types
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