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LP Gas Concerns > Disposal

Disposal of Grill Gas Cylinders

With the recently effective new rules on the required equipment on grill cylinders, many people are looking for ways to get rid of their old cylinders. This article will first explain what you should not do, then will give as many suggestions as we can, and then explain the background for the actions.

What you should NOT do

  • Do not abandon a cylinder. If you do so, the city or county will likely incur a significant disposal fee. They will have to call in the hazardous material disposal team to deal with the abandoned cylinder.
  • Do not put your grill cylinder into a dumpster or trash can. It results in the same disposal fee problem. It can can also pose a serious safety concern if the trash truck compacts its load, as it could crush and rupture the cylinder, releasing the rest of the propane. Small appliance cylinders (nominal one-pound propane capacity) may be disposed of in the regular trash.
  • Do not cut up your cylinder unless you know what you are doing. Even though the cylinder won't run your grill anymore, it still contains propane and can seriously burn you, or even explode, if you provide a source of ignition, such as cutting steel with steel.
  • Do not place grill cylinders or small appliance cylinders (nominal one-pound propane capacity) in recycle bins. Doing so will likely result in a penalty. Small appliance cylinders may be disposed of in the regular trash.

What you should do

  1. Consider exchanging your cylinder for one with the new equipment. Most exchange companies charge a one-time upgrade fee and you get a filled cylinder with the latest equipment.
  2. If you already have your new cylinder, you may be able take your old cylinder to one of the larger exchange locations and give it to them. (This will be a donation. Do not expect to receive a "deposit.") They are more likely to have a place to put your old cylinder than a smaller location. Not all exchange companies provide this service. Blue Rhino and RapidXchange are two that we know of that try to provide the service.
  3. Check with your local propane company. Some of them will take your old cylinder and send off several at a time for refurbishment and reuse.
  4. Some commercial recycling centers will recycle propane cylinders if they are cut in half. Please heed the warning about not cutting up cylinders unless you know what you are doing, above.
  5. Check back here regularly. We are working with the industry to come up with more options for you on what to do with old cylinders.

The reason behind the requirements

Most of our requirements are based on National Fire Protection Association standard 58 (NFPA 58), the LP-Gas Code. There is a requirement there that all new cylinders of propane capacities from 4 to 40 pounds must have an overfill prevention device (OPD). This has been in effect since 1998.

There is also a requirement that no cylinder in the same size range may be filled after March 31, 2002, if it does not have an OPD. Therefore, many cylinders became obsolete on April 1, 2002.

For more information on OPDs and other types of grill cylinder valves, click here to go to another article on valves.

Some people who know about this requirement have already purchased a new cylinder with the OPD and are looking for a way to dispose of their old cylinder. We are looking for ways for consumers to have easy and safe ways to dispose of their old cylinders.


Last updated January 7, 2018


NCDA&CS Standards Division, Stephen Benjamin, Director
Mailing Address:1050 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1050
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3225; FAX: (919) 715-0524

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