How to dispose of gas bottles in the UK

Have an empty gas bottle lying around? Here’s how to dispose of it properly.

small camping stove cooking food

Gas bottles are used by almost everyone – they’re an efficient way to cook food when you’re out exploring, convenient for home BBQs, and the main fuel source available for campervans. 

They come in varying sizes, but they all run out eventually. Gas bottles definitely aren’t your average waste item, either – they can’t just be thrown into a standard refuse bin. 

Instead, your empty gas bottles need to be returned and recycled in a specific manner. To add more complexity, small canisters are disposed of in a different way to large gas tanks.

To help, we’ve summarised the easiest ways to dispose of your gas bottles in the UK below.

Editor’s notes

It’s so important to dispose of your gas bottles correctly – not just for environmental reasons, but for safety too.

What are the different types of gas bottles?

Gas bottles vary depending on the stove you use. Several varieties of gas are out there, and they are all used for different reasons. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Propane: Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It has a low boiling point (-42 degrees) and is better suited for use in cold climates. Propane is more commonly used for BBQs and RVs.
  • Butane: Butane is another LPG with a boiling point of -2 degrees. That makes it less suited to cold conditions, as your stove will cease to work below zero degrees. Butane is more suited for portable gas stoves and short camping trips.
cooking outside on small stove

Camping brands often provide a mix of the two gases in their portable canisters. For example, Coleman makes screw-on gas bottles which are a propane/butane mix. Other brands such as Campingaz and Marksman produce butane or mixed gas bottles that are suitable for many different types of stoves.

How to dispose of your gas canisters 

If you’ve just been on a fantastic camping trip in the Lake District or recently had an extended family BBQ, you probably have one or two empty gas bottles lying around. Here’s how to dispose of them correctly. 

regulator gas attachment on campingaz stove


Try contacting your local camping store for recycling options, they often accept old gas canisters and could save you quite a bit of hassle.

Alternatively, you can take empty gas canisters to your local recycling centre. Depending on the council rules where you live, you may also be able to dispose of your portable gas canisters in a standard metal recycling bin.

Before you dispose of your canisters, however, it’s important to remove the last of the waste gas. When you shake the can, it should feel light, empty, and make no noise. If this is not the case, attach the canister to a camping stove and light the flame to burn off the last of the fumes.

Alternatively, for compatible butane canisters, we recommend using the Jetboil CrunchIt to safely puncture canisters, ready for recycling. 

Jetboil CrunchIt Butane Recycling Tool

We RecommendJetboil CrunchIt Butane Canister Recycling Tool

The Jetboil CrunchIt is a safe, fool-proof butane canister recycling tool that makes it super easy to puncture butane fuel canisters. Render fuel canisters ready for the recycling bin with ease, venting the fuel prior to puncture, to minimise all risk. 

When the gas bottle is empty, mark/label it as such before discarding it. These methods work best for the small gas canisters used for portable camping stoves. Large gas bottles require more care to recycle.

Return to supplier

If you have a large gas bottle, you must follow a more regulated disposal process. Lots of companies have schemes where you can return your bottle and they will recycle it for you – check the label on your gas bottle for information specific to your product.

For example, if you have an old Calor gas bottle you want to get rid of, contact your local Calor dealership before doing anything else. They will then inform you of their availability and may pick it up for you! Alternatively, you can drop the gas bottle off at a registered Calor retail site. 

How to refill a gas bottle in the UK

If you have a small gas canister, the standard practice is to simply buy another when it runs empty. This is not very environmentally friendly, which is why it’s important to recycle your canisters responsibly so they can be refilled and used again.

Large gas bottles, on the other hand, are traditionally used for many years and can be refilled whenever they run low. If you have a bottle from a brand like Calor, you can simply return your empty bottle and they hand you a newly refilled one. Alternatively, go online and notify Calor – they may be able to come to your residence and swap the bottle for you.

Refillable propane gas tanks in camper vans can be manually refilled – this works much the same as filling up the petrol on a vehicle. and this guide from RV Geeks can help. However, there are regulations to be aware of so always check on your tank and contact the dealer before acting yourself.

gas bottles outside of an old caravan

How to buy a gas bottle for BBQs

Before buying a gas bottle, you should buy your BBQ. If this isn’t possible, at least check the type of gas bottle your BBQ requires. If you are confused about what you need, head down to your local hardware store and they will be able to help you. It’s then easy to purchase the appropriate gas bottle size to hook up to your BBQ.

Calor has a handy tool on their website to help you find the correct gas bottle for your BBQ. This may save you a little time and allows you to pre-order your bottles online.

FAQ: How to dispose of a gas bottle

Need more information on disposing of your gas bottles? You’re in the right place – check out our FAQ below and we’ll hopefully be able to help with any queries! 

No – particularly not if it is a large bottle! Small canisters may also contain fumes that could compress and explode when the rubbish is crushed.

Small canisters can be taken to a recycling center or returned to a camping store. Large bottles can be returned to a supplier or dropped at a registered retail outlet for recycling.

Portable gas canisters come in different sizes and fuel types. Mostly, they are butane or mixed. Large gas bottles are generally propane-based and they also come in different sizes. 

If you’re still looking for the answer to a question – don’t hesitate to reach out! Adventure Pending is always happy to answer questions via our social media channels.

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