Hey Mr. Green, How Can I Recycle My Camp Stove Fuel Canisters?

By Bob Schildgen

May 4, 2015

What's the best way to recycle a butane fuel canister?

Photo by iStock/lolostock

Hey Mr. Green,

I have been trying to find out how best to dispose of or recycle the small canisters that we use for our camp stove (the ones a bit fatter than the size of a jar of pasta sauce). Even our local hardware store didn't seem to know. Do you know?

—Donna, San Francisco


Until recently, it was impossible to recycle those old canisters for the simple reason that nobody wanted to risk having the gas left in them blowing up or starting a fire. But now—good news for campers—you can heat up the pasta sauce at your campsite and enjoy it even more. Jetboil, a major manufacturer of canisters, has introduced the CrunchIt Butane Canister Recycling Tool. The $6 CrunchIt allows you to puncture your empty canister so it can be safely crushed at a recycler. Avert disaster and make sure all the remaining gas is expelled before you apply the tool (low canister pressure means it will take longer to burn off leftover fuel). Once you've punctured the canister, you should also dent or crush it to further communicate that it's been drained.

Find the nearest recycler that takes them by going to Earth 911, then typing in "steel" and your ZIP code.

If you want to stay away from single-use canisters altogether, consider choosing an MSR stove with refillable fuel bottles.—Bob Schildgen