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How to Recycle Coleman Propane Tanks

Kurt Erickson

The green 16.4-ounce Coleman propane canisters that provide fuel for camping stoves, lamps and other outdoor appliances can be recycled only if local recycling centers will accept them. The main concern among recycling center operators is making sure that the units are completely empty of fuel. Coleman offers a plastic tool meant to assure recycling centers the canisters are completely empty. If this tool is unavailable or recycling centers don't accept the canisters, the only option may be to dispose of them in the trash.

Only recycle camp stove fuel canisters if they are completely empty of fuel.
  1. Make sure the propane canister is empty by attaching it to a stove or lantern and operating it until there is no trace of fuel remaining.

  2. Obtain Coleman's "Green Key Tool" at a retailer that sells camping equipment. In some instances, these plastic devices are available at no charge when Coleman canisters are initially purchased. Push the "Green Key Tool" into the valve at the top of the cylinder. Allow the canister to sit for at least two minutes before attempting to recycle.

  3. Take the canister, with the "Green Key Tool" still inserted in the valve, to the recycling center and explain that tool is proof that the canister is completely empty and safe for recycling.