Author Topic: How to safely dispose of butane / propane  (Read 1320 times)

How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« on: July 02, 2020, 06:09:11 pm »
I've half a dozen cans (350g / 655ml) of Butane and Butane/Propane Mix gas sitting in my shed.
They've been in there ever since I put them there when I moved to this address, 17 years ago.
The cans now have rusty tops and bases, to the extent that I wouldn't dream of connecting them to a blowtorch.
So, how do I safely get rid?
I can't see Lewisham Council Re-cycling Depot welcoming me with open arms, whilst I'm bearing  these in their direction.
Sneak them, one at a time, into my 'Landfill' bin?
Put them in the re-cycling bin?
Put them on a bonfire?
.

Please. Suggestions that are not injurious to man nor beast.

Actually, how about connecting them to a blowtorch and venting them into the atmosphere? Away from any source of ignition obvs. That sounds reasonably safe to me. Especially if done on a breezy day.

What does the panel think?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2020, 06:13:55 pm »
Connect them to a remote-feed camping stove and have a nice cup of tea.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2020, 06:15:10 pm »
Throw on a bonfire would be my suggestion for sensible disposal.

But you might want to bear in mind that I'm a pyromaniac.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2020, 06:15:56 pm »
Connect them to a remote-feed camping stove and have a nice cup of tea.
I would, were it not the for fact that I have doubts about their structural integrity, and their capacity to release their contents in a controlled manner.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2020, 06:19:41 pm »
I think the 'vent them with a blowtorch plan' is winning.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2020, 06:26:02 pm »
I think the 'vent them with a blowtorch plan' is winning.

Sure. Now I've just got to find what I did with my blowtorch.
Its at least 17 years since I last saw it.

ETA: It'll doubtless be in the drawer, marked with a Dymo embossed label, which states: 'Blowtorch and blowtorch accessories'.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2020, 06:26:55 pm »
Our local recycling centre will take them, but at a cost. Says £6.90 per bottle, but I suspect they weren't really thinking about the small blowtorch sized ones.
I'd give your local centre a call and ask.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2020, 06:28:15 pm »
I'm pretty sure the larger of our local recycling centers have cages for gas bottles.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 07:04:33 pm »
depending on the mix, the pressures inside these cans are not very high, especially in the case of Butane. They are quite sensitive to temperature though. 



so if they have already  survived a heat wave or two they are probably not just about to burst of their own accord. The main danger from them is not that they will burst explosively, it is more that the contents are very flammable. By corrosion they are most likely to fail to a leak rather than a rupture, and a rupture might be dangerous if there is a source of ignition nearby; there are many kJ of energy within each can.  But then there is inside an old can of WD40 too and most folk don't worry about those.

If they are the sort of canisters that are pierced to open then you shouldn't worry overly about piercing them; this part of the canister is very much overengineered against splitting.  The main danger when using them normally is that the seal doesn't seal properly at the top of the canister, in which case you can have a leak that can result in a second flame; this might still be the major worry still; the rubber seal may not be effective on a slightly corroded canister surface.

If you want to examine them under conditions of improved safety, bung 'em in the freezer for an hour or two first; the internal pressure will be much reduced. In fact in cold weather butane canisters will usually dribble liquid butane out, so cans from the deep freeze can be pierced and left to slowly  disgorge their contents as they warm up. 

If you want to pressure-test the canisters, you could (outside) drop them into a bucket of hot water and then (swiftly) retire to a safe distance. If they don't rupture under that treatment then I'd assume they are still fairly safe to use in a normal way.

cheers

IanN

  • Voon
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 07:08:46 pm »
Throw on a bonfire would be my suggestion for sensible disposal.

But you might want to bear in mind that I'm a pyromaniac.
They do make a satisfying noise, the little blue fully sealed ones especially

Don't play with fire, children  ;D

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 07:20:07 pm »
I think the 'vent them with a blowtorch plan' is winning.

Sure. Now I've just got to find what I did with my blowtorch.
Its at least 17 years since I last saw it.

ETA: It'll doubtless be in the drawer, marked with a Dymo embossed label, which states: 'Blowtorch and blowtorch accessories'.
YAHankHillAICMFD
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 07:46:31 pm »
I think the 'vent them with a blowtorch plan' is winning.

Sure. Now I've just got to find what I did with my blowtorch.
Its at least 17 years since I last saw it.

ETA: It'll doubtless be in the drawer, marked with a Dymo embossed label, which states: 'Blowtorch and blowtorch accessories'.
YAHankHillAICMFD

I think you'll find that is
"Propaneandpropaneaccessories"

Anyway, following much digging, I found it in the case labelled 'Microflame brazing kit' - which contains a tiny little torch I'd forgotten about. It takes two cylinders (think CO2 or NO) one contains Butane, the other Oxygen - pretty good for brazing and silver soldering stuff on the jewellery scale of things.
Although the run time is piss-poor.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 08:04:12 pm »

If you want to pressure-test the canisters, you could (outside) drop them into a bucket of hot water and then (swiftly) retire to a safe distance. If they don't rupture under that treatment then I'd assume they are still fairly safe to use in a normal way.

cheers
Given that my gung-ho days are mostly over, and I've managed to escape with eight fingers, two thumbs and two eyes, I'll probably give this one a miss.
Particularly as the cans of gas are standing next to a couple of cans of Buntlack acrylic paint, similarly corroded and, judging by the bubble like formation at the base of one of those, I'd say that has started to fail in the form of a slow leak - albeit a bit less volatile than butane.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 08:09:43 pm »
Coat with peanut butter & leave near a tree with resident squirrel population ?




 
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 08:13:22 pm »
Connect them to a remote-feed camping stove and have a nice cup of tea.
I would, were it not the for fact that I have doubts about their structural integrity, and their capacity to release their contents in a controlled manner.
If you leave them, they'll eventually rust through. If you use them now, you get to have a nice cup of tea/coffee/beanzontoast in a safe manner, cos if they aren't leaking yet, they're not going to leak as the pressure drops.

Alternatively, use an octopus to fill one single larger bottle.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2020, 09:52:35 pm »
Disguise them as footballs and leave in a local park.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2020, 10:05:08 pm »
Shove them in a brown envelope & leave near as Tory MP  :demon:
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2020, 10:07:00 pm »
Throw on a bonfire would be my suggestion for sensible disposal.

But you might want to bear in mind that I'm a pyromaniac.
I threw one of these on a bonfire many years ago. It was lie a bomb going off.
I be very satisfying to the pyromaniac in your Sir.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2020, 10:14:02 pm »

If you want to pressure-test the canisters, you could (outside) drop them into a bucket of hot water and then (swiftly) retire to a safe distance. If they don't rupture under that treatment then I'd assume they are still fairly safe to use in a normal way.

cheers
Given that my gung-ho days are mostly over, and I've managed to escape with eight fingers, two thumbs and two eyes, I'll probably give this one a miss.
Particularly as the cans of gas are standing next to a couple of cans of Buntlack acrylic paint, similarly corroded and, judging by the bubble like formation at the base of one of those, I'd say that has started to fail in the form of a slow leak - albeit a bit less volatile than butane.

I've had aerosol paint cans start to leak their contents (bubbles at the base seam) after less than two years, with no corrosion involved. It normally just means the can wasn't very well made.     If you want to do anything with these cans/canisters whilst they are in the 'suspect' category then it is probably sensible to use a litter picker to pick them up, eye protection etc.   If they have been in the freezer or have passed the hot water test without rupturing then I'd feel better about handling them more directly.

When these containers are new they are meant to survive being inside a car on a hot day (at least 60C), vibration, being dropped/dented etc all without suddenly leaking. They are quite overbuilt.

cheers

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2020, 02:53:04 am »
When these containers are new they are meant to survive being inside a car on a hot day (at least 60C), vibration, being dropped/dented etc all without suddenly leaking. They are quite overbuilt.
cheers

The labels on my cans (MSR & Coleman) all say 50C, not 60. At any rate, I would not leave them in a car parked in the desert sun in my part of the world, at least not in the passenger area.

Jurek, you could probably connect the cans one at a time to the appliance of your choice and burn off the fuel. If you're worried about structural integrity of the cans, chill them before you start. Don't try to cook anything or weld/braze anything, just light the appliance and step back a ways. After the flame goes out, punch a hole in the can with a hammer and nail, and let it sit for a day. At this point you will have empty cans with nothing but air in them. If you''re worried about connecting the cans to any appliance, you could probably just punch a hole in each can with a nail and let the gas escape, as long as noone is smoking or playing with matches in the immediate vicinity.

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2020, 07:15:36 am »
if the cans are rated to 50C they pass a tougher test in production; put it this way if they started failing at (say) 55C then something would have to have gone wrong in manufacture.

I would strike a note of caution if you are thinking of "punching a hole in the canisters and letting the gas escape" in that you need to be absolutely certain that there is no chance for a spark to be made as you do so.

cheers

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2020, 08:05:31 am »
FTR - Having found my ancient (very basic) blowtorch, I shall be venting the contents of the cans into the atmosphere, aided and abetted by the summer breeze and, hopefully, zero source of ignition.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2020, 01:47:39 pm »
 
Please to not be venting anything to the atmosphere that is not oxygen, nitrogen, or small quantities of co2.

Take these items to your house hold waste disposal site. They should have the correct facilities for such things ( usually a cage or container.

They are a Hazardous item, dispose of them properly.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2020, 06:36:21 pm »
If you leave them, they'll eventually rust through. If you use them now, you get to have a nice cup of tea/coffee/beanzontoast in a safe manner, cos if they aren't leaking yet, they're not going to leak as the pressure drops.
I'd agree with this.

The gas is heavier than air. If burning it off, I'd have the flame well higher than the canister. A friend once (before these things had resealable valves) replaced a canister. After lighting the stove with the new canister, he wandered round absent-mindedly, with the old one in his hand and upside down. The gas clearly drained out and formed a pool around the stove. He knows this because of what happened next. He didn't do that again.

The references to cages surely apply to the large 4.5kg and similar, refillable canisters that you get from caravanning places and the like. These are only obtained on effective rental (you pay a deposit on the first one and keep swapping them). If I had any of those, I'd offer them back to a supplier, though I wouldn't hold my breath over getting the deposit back.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: How to safely dispose of butane / propane
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2020, 07:09:36 pm »
Should be fine but if worried take them to the recycling.