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Re: Propane canisters

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avatar Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:01AM
kind of a dumb question, but where are you suppose to dispose these things? (the small one's that you typically hook up to a colman stove).
Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:21AM
Great question. I think most people just toss them in the garbage. I guess a steel recyclers might take them?
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:26AM
when i camp, i take the empties home... but at home, i would think my recycle container, but i'm not positive about that even.. my fear is a truck picking the recycle up, and smashing everything. i'm afraid of an explosion. lol i know i should call my city, but was just wondering if anyone here knew.
Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:35AM
I've seen them sitting on the trash cans in Upper Pines in Yosemite Valley, I guess people didn't know what to do with them, so they just set them there.

I know Yosemite Valley has a great recycling program, I toured the facility on Earth day a few years ago. I would guess they do something with them.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 11:05AM
These come under "Hazardous Material" and are supposed to be treated that way. For the last 2 years I had no idea what to do with them. They had plenty of gas remaining but I could not take them back home with me on the plane so on both occasions the manager at the motel I use in Lee Vining kept them and said he could always find use for them eventually.

I suppose many of these end up in landfills illegally where they could be a danger if they exploded when the push tractors or compacting tractors run over them. Where I live they now have 6 day/week hazardous household recycling centers. They take old grill propane tanks as well. The gas is removed and reclaimed before the canisters are recycled for the steel. No metal recycler would ever want these things with gas still in them.
Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 07:44PM
If my BBQ is on, and the tank runs dry and the flame goes out, I am confused how there will be any gas left? Or do people throw out almost empty tanks?
Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 07:57PM
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 08:46PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
If my BBQ is on, and the tank runs dry and the flame goes out, I am confused how there will be any gas left? Or do people throw out almost empty tanks?
I've talked to Woody, the guy that operates the propane recycling machine in El Portal, he says that he gets a lot that are more than half full. People do not want to bother themselves to take it home with them. The same with cheap BBQs. They leave them for others to clean up.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 09:06PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
If my BBQ is on, and the tank runs dry and the flame goes out, I am confused how there will be any gas left? Or do people throw out almost empty tanks?



Ignoring the (slow) process of diffusion, gas will only move from one place to another if there is a pressure differential (i.e., a driving force). When the gas in the propane cylinder reaches atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi, in the English units of pounds per square inch), no pressure differential exists to move the gas to the stove burner. Therefore, at the very least, you have 1 atmosphere of propane gas inside an “empty” cylinder. If you would happen to have a pressure gauge attached to the cylinder, it would almost undoubtedly read “0” at this point since the overwhelming majority of pressure gauges display what is called “gauge pressure” (psig), which is the difference between the cylinder pressure and atmospheric pressure, rather than “absolute pressure” (psia).

Actually, however, your burner flame will go out well before the cylinder pressure reaches atmospheric pressure since the propane will only burn if you can supply it at rate sufficient to exceed its Lower Flammability Limit in air at the burner head:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flammability_limit
Translation: the propane will only burn if its ratio to available oxygen is within certain limits – too little, or too much, and combustion is not supported.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2010 09:14PM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 11:15AM
i just called my city, and they said that it is considered hazardous material, and does NOT go in any garbage or recycle cans... i'm suppose to take it down to our city dump and have them take it...

another thing i didn't know (maybe its different where you live), but i have been putting styrofoam in my recycle, the city said no, that it is suppose to actually go into the garbage can! i said "what?! you serious?" and i was told yes. i found that to be really odd.
Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 12:50PM
Yosemite now has a propane canister recycling program. I think there are special trash cans in the campgrounds. The cannisters are taken to a special station in El Portal where the left over propane is recovered and then the steel is recycled.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 01:07PM
Upper Pines already had recycling containers for those propane canisters when I stayed last year.

The other thing that can be used are those Coleman "Green Key" tools that leave the valve completely open such that any recyclers know that they won't present a fire hazard. It should purge all the propane after a few minutes, if the cylinder was otherwise exhausted. Coleman is including these with most of the cylinders they sell, and they also sell them in 6-packs for $1. They may be hard to find though.



http://www.coleman.com/coleman/recycle/cylinder_dis.asp
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 04:25PM
Quote
y_p_w
Upper Pines already had recycling containers for those propane canisters when I stayed last year.

The other thing that can be used are those Coleman "Green Key" tools that leave the valve completely open such that any recyclers know that they won't present a fire hazard. It should purge all the propane after a few minutes, if the cylinder was otherwise exhausted. Coleman is including these with most of the cylinders they sell, and they also sell them in 6-packs for $1. They may be hard to find though.
Actually, using that key is the worst thing to do. It vents some pretty nasty greenhouse gasses directly into the atmosphere. Just place the canister in the bin when you are done with it. They are picked up, taken to the warehouse in El Portal where the propane is sucked out and used to drive the forklift. The bottles are then flattened, punctured, and sold as scrap metal.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 05:05PM
Quote
Dave
Quote
y_p_w
Upper Pines already had recycling containers for those propane canisters when I stayed last year.

The other thing that can be used are those Coleman "Green Key" tools that leave the valve completely open such that any recyclers know that they won't present a fire hazard. It should purge all the propane after a few minutes, if the cylinder was otherwise exhausted. Coleman is including these with most of the cylinders they sell, and they also sell them in 6-packs for $1. They may be hard to find though.
Actually, using that key is the worst thing to do. It vents some pretty nasty greenhouse gasses directly into the atmosphere. Just place the canister in the bin when you are done with it. They are picked up, taken to the warehouse in El Portal where the propane is sucked out and used to drive the forklift. The bottles are then flattened, punctured, and sold as scrap metal.

Propane is not a greenhouse gas, and the only gas (save minor impurities) in those propane canisters is propane. There's nothing to be feared from the release of propane into the atmosphere, save accidental ignition.

http://www.brighthub.com/environment/renewable-energy/articles/81752.aspx

The only hydrocarbon I know of that's a greenhouse gas (before combustion turns it into carbon dioxide) is methane. Apparently cows (which belch and fart methane as a digestion byproduct) are a substantial source of greenhouse gas emissions.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 08:43PM
Quote
y_p_w
Propane is not a greenhouse gas, and the only gas (save minor impurities) in those propane canisters is propane. There's nothing to be feared from the release of propane into the atmosphere, save accidental ignition......
From your link: Propane is a colorless gaseous hydrocarbon derived from the processing of natural gas and is not considered to be a greenhouse gas in its liquefied stored state. As the propane breaks down in the atmosphere it produces hydroxyl radicals, reacts with other pollutants, and is not benign.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 09:01PM
Interestingly, the method for disposing of larger propane canisters in Montana involves the propane distributors filling the cans with water which is left to freeze over winter and the fractured cans are sent to metal recyclers.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 09:20PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Interestingly, the method for disposing of larger propane canisters in Montana involves the propane distributors filling the cans with water which is left to freeze over winter and the fractured cans are sent to metal recyclers.


Bison Bashing Banned?
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 09:14PM
Quote
Dave
As the propane breaks down in the atmosphere it produces hydroxyl radicals, reacts with other pollutants, and is not benign.

This statement might require a bit of clarification. Is the argument that propane is a greenhouse gas or is the argument that it adds (probably infinitesimally) to the general atmospheric pollution? Anything that is degraded to CO2 could be considered as contributing to greenhouse gas effects. Overall, and in comparison, it seems relatively benign considering the pollution/BTU calculation.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:14PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Dave
As the propane breaks down in the atmosphere it produces hydroxyl radicals, reacts with other pollutants, and is not benign.

This statement might require a bit of clarification. Is the argument that propane is a greenhouse gas or is the argument that it adds (probably infinitesimally) to the general atmospheric pollution? Anything that is degraded to CO2 could be considered as contributing to greenhouse gas effects. Overall, and in comparison, it seems relatively benign considering the pollution/BTU calculation.

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/recycle/images/greenkey.pdf

Quote

PROPANE IS NOT A GREENHOUSE GAS
• It is not identified as harmful to the environment.

If it does have potential to do some harm, I probably bleed off way more unburned propane before ignition (like lighting a stove) from one cylinder than would exit after inserting a Green Key. I've never inserted one unless I'd already used up the cylinder to the point where the pressure couldn't maintain a flame. At that point it was either bleeding out unburned propane or it was completely empty. In any case, one of these things isn't strictly necessary except as an indicator that there isn't enough propane in a cylinder to ignite.

I'm not sure what happened. Someone cleaned out the garage and I can't find the spares I bought. REI doesn't carry them any more, and I'm thinking Coleman might have discontinued it, save the old info on their website.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:25PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote

PROPANE IS NOT A GREENHOUSE GAS
• It is not identified as harmful to the environment.
Partially correct. The propane is not harmful. What it breaks down into is. At least that's what we learned in my chemistry class back in the 1970's. Things may have changed since then.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2010 10:26PM by Dave.
avatar Speaking Of Greenhouse Gases...
November 21, 2010 06:44AM
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 12, 2010 10:23PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Dave
As the propane breaks down in the atmosphere it produces hydroxyl radicals, reacts with other pollutants, and is not benign.

This statement might require a bit of clarification. Is the argument that propane is a greenhouse gas or is the argument that it adds (probably infinitesimally) to the general atmospheric pollution? Anything that is degraded to CO2 could be considered as contributing to greenhouse gas effects. Overall, and in comparison, it seems relatively benign considering the pollution/BTU calculation.
Wouldn't the pollution/BTU calculation come in only when burning the gas vs releasing it? Sure, when burning propane it produces fewer pollutants and greenhouse gasses than many other fuels.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 13, 2010 08:18AM
The hazardous aspect of propane refers predominately to its nature as an explosive stored in a canister under pressure. I believe that's the primary concern regarding proper disposal.

O.K., so what about the none-campground backpackers like me arriving and leaving the Tuolumne Meadows area from the East? Are they going to let me into the campground to cruize around looking for this special propane disposal box or is there another one in TM available to the general public?
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 13, 2010 08:38AM
Quote
tomdisco
The hazardous aspect of propane refers predominately to its nature as an explosive stored in a canister under pressure. I believe that's the primary concern regarding proper disposal.

O.K., so what about the none-campground backpackers like me arriving and leaving the Tuolumne Meadows area from the East? Are they going to let me into the campground to cruize around looking for this special propane disposal box or is there another one in TM available to the general public?
Good question. I'll ask when I get back to work. How about a disposal box at the store? But what backpacker carries those heavy things? Don't most use the mix that comes in a lighter container? I still use the white gas Svea that I bought back in the 70's.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 14, 2010 07:48AM
Quote
Dave
Quote
tomdisco
The hazardous aspect of propane refers predominately to its nature as an explosive stored in a canister under pressure. I believe that's the primary concern regarding proper disposal.

O.K., so what about the none-campground backpackers like me arriving and leaving the Tuolumne Meadows area from the East? Are they going to let me into the campground to cruize around looking for this special propane disposal box or is there another one in TM available to the general public?
Good question. I'll ask when I get back to work. How about a disposal box at the store? But what backpacker carries those heavy things? Don't most use the mix that comes in a lighter container? I still use the white gas Svea that I bought back in the 70's.

I'm a backpacker who uses propane w/ the Snowpeak Giga Power stove. I just prefer it all around due to its speed of use and dependability at high altitude. I really would be interested in where to dispose of these. It's possible there has been a disposable drum near the TM store dumpsters all along and I've just never noticed it or knew what it was.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 14, 2010 07:00PM
Quote
tomdisco
I'm a backpacker who uses propane w/ the Snowpeak Giga Power stove. I just prefer it all around due to its speed of use and dependability at high altitude. I really would be interested in where to dispose of these. It's possible there has been a disposable drum near the TM store dumpsters all along and I've just never noticed it or knew what it was.
Depending when I go back to work, either in December as a permanent, or in April as a seasonal, I'll ask about the propane disposal locations. I'd rather have one right next to the front door where it's more visable. I'll aslo check about campground locations.

I love my Svea 123.
I've never had trouble starting it no matter what the altitude or temperature. It's never failed me. I must have thousands of hours on that thing since I bought it in the early 1970's. Never needed a repair of any kind.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 14, 2010 07:40PM
Quote
Dave
I love my Svea 123.
I've never had trouble starting it no matter what the altitude or temperature. It's never failed me.

You've been lucky. Mine was often quite good about starting but would sometimes get a bit cranky.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 14, 2010 10:19PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Dave
I love my Svea 123.
I've never had trouble starting it no matter what the altitude or temperature. It's never failed me.

You've been lucky. Mine was often quite good about starting but would sometimes get a bit cranky.
Well... we all get cranky at times. You have to keep that orifice clean. It is hard to start in the wind, but that's easy to solve. They are kind of loud though. I've been on a hike where we had 8 of them going at once.

One story has one of these stoves lost in the Antarctic and then found 20 years later and it started right up.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 21, 2010 08:20AM
Quote
Dave
Quote
eeek
Quote
Dave
I love my Svea 123.
I've never had trouble starting it no matter what the altitude or temperature. It's never failed me.

You've been lucky. Mine was often quite good about starting but would sometimes get a bit cranky.
Well... we all get cranky at times. You have to keep that orifice clean. It is hard to start in the wind, but that's easy to solve. They are kind of loud though. I've been on a hike where we had 8 of them going at once.

One story has one of these stoves lost in the Antarctic and then found 20 years later and it started right up.

We used to have these things. Old dude introduced me to it when first started backpacking.
There are so many lighter options out there now... the 123 got binned when it got finicky and I
said enough of this crap... bought an MSR Dragonfly... bombproof... works in all weather...
Typ. use a canister stove now until winter rolls in... then the Dragonfly comes out.

As for the canisters... you can just puncture the can and throw it in the recycle bin.
Jet Boil is selling their stove with a puncture tool and calling it "green" .



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 21, 2010 08:38AM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
Dave
Quote
eeek
Quote
Dave
I love my Svea 123.
I've never had trouble starting it no matter what the altitude or temperature. It's never failed me.

You've been lucky. Mine was often quite good about starting but would sometimes get a bit cranky.
Well... we all get cranky at times. You have to keep that orifice clean. It is hard to start in the wind, but that's easy to solve. They are kind of loud though. I've been on a hike where we had 8 of them going at once.

One story has one of these stoves lost in the Antarctic and then found 20 years later and it started right up.

We used to have these things. Old dude introduced me to it when first started backpacking.
There are so many lighter options out there now... the 123 got binned when it got finicky and I
said enough of this crap... bought an MSR Dragonfly... bombproof... works in all weather...
Typ. use a canister stove now until winter rolls in... then the Dragonfly comes out.

As for the canisters... you can just puncture the can and throw it in the recycle bin.
Jet Boil is selling their stove with a puncture tool and calling it "green" .

The ones I end up with always have gas remaining in them so puncturing them is not an option without risk of blowing myself up.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 21, 2010 08:42AM
Quote
tomdisco
The ones I end up with always have gas remaining in them so puncturing them is not an option without risk of blowing myself up.

Uh... when u get back to the trailhead... put them in the bear box, write "FREE" on them with magic marker
or find someone and give them away.
If only a little fuel in them... open and burn away til empty...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 21, 2010 04:21PM
Quote
tomdisco
The ones [canisters] I end up with always have gas remaining in them so puncturing them is not an option without risk of blowing myself up.

You have to evacuate them first. If you known you're near the end, simply use it until a flame won't hold. At that point there will be a tiny amount of gas in there, and not enough pressure to keep it liquid. If you hold it long enough like that, the gas will probably slowly exit via diffusion even if there's no pressure difference. Piercing the can merely serves as an indication to any recycler that there shouldn't be any gas in there. As long as you puncture it when it's been drawn down, the most you're going to have is a wimpy little flame if it ignites. I would hope most people trying that would check to see there is no ignition source nearby and maybe to do in in a decent sized clearing.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 21, 2010 09:19AM
Quote
chick-on
... the 123 got binned when it got finicky and I said enough of this crap... bought an MSR Dragonfly... bombproof... works in all weather...
Typ. use a canister stove now until winter rolls in... then the Dragonfly comes out.


We prefer the MSR expedition stove
http://www.rei.com/product/722001
since you can burn just about anything, including chicken fat, in it.
(SittingHereDrinkingHotChocolately Yours)
The Marmots



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2010 09:20AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Propane canisters
November 13, 2010 10:52AM
Quote
tomdisco
The hazardous aspect of propane refers predominately to its nature as an explosive stored in a canister under pressure. I believe that's the primary concern regarding proper disposal.

O.K., so what about the none-campground backpackers like me arriving and leaving the Tuolumne Meadows area from the East? Are they going to let me into the campground to cruize around looking for this special propane disposal box or is there another one in TM available to the general public?

When I was at Upper Pines, what they had were standard 33 gallon galvanized steel trash cans secured to a metal post. This is a pretty standard bear resistant trash can configuration. I think they had one of these next to every other collection of trash/recycling dumpsters.

However - if you're really looking to dump propane/butane cartridges, I'd think the way you could do it is to carry a can piercer. I've seen some specialty ones sold at REI, but what I've used are just a normal combination can piercers and bottle openers.
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