How can I reuse or recycle … camping fuel canisters?

Camping stoveHad an email from Russ Beebe asking:

How can I recycle … Coleman, JetBoil, and other nonrefillable fuel canisters? Thanks!

I had no idea what they were but thanks to Google, I now think he means camping gas/fuel canisters (is that right, Russ? if not, please correct me!)

I have a feeling this will be a recycle rather than reuse item but any suggestions for either are welcome.

(Photo by 2sogar)

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … camping fuel canisters?”

  1. winehiker says:

    Yes, Louisa and John, I do mean the gas/fuel canisters used for camp cooking/heating/lighting. Since they cannot be refilled, I’m interesting in learning of more online recycling resources I can point people to from my blog. Thank you!

    Russ Beebe
    “The Winehiker”

  2. winehiker says:

    OK, perhaps I am interesting, but I really meant to say “I’m interested…”. Oy.

  3. Brian W says:


    According to my friends at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, these canisters CAN be recycled. They suggest puncturing them when they are empty, and then smashing them. I tried it on my last camping trip. The tip of my pocket knife easily punctured it, and i found a big rock to smash it down. I presume the puncture and smash step is so the sorters know it is empty. There is a lot of metal in that canister so I encourage everyone to recycle it so it can be used again.

  4. Sorin says:

    If you check manufacturer websites, they generally advise against puncturing the containers, since there will almost always be some residual gas left that could still ignite from a spark, and they like to avoid lawsuits. In the states, REI and other outdoor outfitters will take used canisters for recycling, so you can just drop off your old ones when you buy new ones.

  5. delqc says:

    You may also want to consider purchasing a stove which uses a refillable cannister. REI offers a whole variety. A bonus for travel is also that these stoves can often burn several kinds of fuel, including white gas, kerosene, jet fuel, etc.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You can recycle it with ProSolv, a propane cylinder recycling system. Go to and click the “ProSolv” link for more info!

  7. Rick Fox says:

    You can in fact refill these canisters, as long as they are not the really old puncture type.

    I’ve seen an adapter that allows connection to a big gas bottle for refilling. Can’t remember where now, but I’m sure a good google would find it.

  8. vincer says:

    i just purchased a personal jetboil system. i live in the state of hawaii so my fuel canister came empty, likely due to shipping. i’m not certain. in an effort to save a couple bucks i purchased the larger 8oz can to refill the 3.5oz can, but in order to do so i was required to purchase the male adaptor.

    so far no luck, the micro canister doesn’t accept fuel.

    i’ll return the item today.

    the jetboil is great aside from its custom tailoring.

  9. Ben Zyl says:

    The thread on the top of these is the same as the airbrush ones, you can modify the screw on tap for these, connect up an inverted larger can and fill them quite easily (no problems so far in three years).

    • Squashy says:

      Are you able to supply me details of how you do this please?
      It’s a great idea to refill these disposable canisters and eco too!
      What bits are required etc?

  10. chloe says:

    I have fallen upon this sight whilst trying to find a place do dispose of my butane gas canisters which are full but redundant since I have sold my camping equipment.
    Can anyone take them off my hands? I’m in SW2 but can meet in the centre.

  11. brandon says:

    I work at REI and we don’t recycle the containers.

  12. Bob says:

    I was at REI and they do not recycle the canisters and i was not able to get any idea of any recycler…I am in Denver

  13. i am working with STH and we recycle the containers..
    vernon getzler

  14. james says:

    This site gives some pretty comprehensive information on the canister stove thing as well as info on how to refill the older steel coleman type canisters.

  15. sports gift says:

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