Recycling Q&A: What Should I Do With Propane Tanks?

Recycling Q&A: What Should I Do With Propane Tanks?

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of recycling tips from Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

Ah, the beginning of summer.

Memorial Day is one of the big grilling weekends of the year, and a time when people start thinking about fixing up the home or cottage.

That means it’s also a time of year when people want to know how to recycle propane tanks.

Q: I have three small propane tanks from my plumbing torch that I would like to properly recycle/dispose of. How may I do that?

A: …

Thank you for asking. As you may have suspected, these pressurized (and potentially flammable) containers (large and small propane cylinders, butane cartridges, oxygen tanks and the like) are not allowed in the curbside recycling bins.

Though you may see information online (mainly from the manufacturers of these products) saying that they can just be put in the trash, that is not recommended.

Pressurized containers are not wanted in the trash stream because it creates a potential hazard of explosions or fires in compactor trucks.

So What Do You Do With Them?

Unfortunately, there are not many options for recycling or proper disposal. As provided in my online A-Z Recycling and Reuse List under Propane Gas Tanks, there are a couple of limited options for drop-off.

Drop-Off Locations

Small, camp-sized propane cylinders and 30-gallon-sized tanks, full or empty can be dropped off at The Crusher at 651 W. Washington St. in West Chicago. If you have questions, you may call them at 630-231-6888.

Thirty-gallon-sized tanks only, full or empty — the barbecue-sized tanks you get from hardware stores — should be able to be returned there, too. So of course the first place you should check is wherever you bought it to see if they will take it back.

The Naperville Household Hazardous Waste facility takes 30-gallon-sized tanks only, full or empty. See the Household Hazardous Waste page on the Kane County Recycles webpage for more informatin. ​Note that Naperville will no longer accept small, camp-sized tanks.

The Crusher

The Crusher, a third-generation family business, is an auto crusher, junk dealer and scrap metal recycling facility in West Chicago that is able to properly process propane canisters, oxygen tanks and butane cartridges by safely recovering the contents and depressurizing the containers them before recycling the metal.

The Crusher also accepts appliances, air conditioners, cars, dehumidifiers, washers, dryers, freezers, lawn mowers, refrigerators and all scrap metal.

The Crusher has a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week drop-off container, located in the front parking lot just off of Washington, up against the fence. So you can just drop your items off whenever you may be in that neighborhood.

Do Not Try This at Home!

Some other scrap metal recyclers will take depressurized containers, but I would strongly recommend that you please DO NOT attempt to depressurize them at home.

Happy Camping!

Thank you for your concern about recycling and proper disposal. Have a safe and happy summer!

Want To Q&A Jennifer Jarland in Person?

Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland is headlining a program from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 7, at the Batavia Civic Center titled, “Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” The program takes place in the Conference Room of the center located at 327 W. Wilson St.

Read More Recycling Q&A Stories