Published on 27/03/2019
There’s an increasing awareness of pollution in our oceans. The world is waking up to just how much waste is dumped in our seas – not only from plastic but from a variety of other sources too, including gas cylinders.
Recently, there have been many reports of merchant ships simply throwing used cylinders overboard to save the cost of proper disposal. As well as the obvious environmental impact of this, it’s also missing out on a potentially lucrative source of money.
To make sure your gas detection devices are operating correctly, and your vessel is safe, you’ll need a good supply of calibration gas. If you order in bulk, this means that you’ll undoubtedly have a large supply of cylinders on board. These cylinders are classified as dangerous goods so they need careful handling and storage – even when they’re empty, they may still be considered hazardous by many organisations and flag states.
This makes disposal a problem. The process can often be costly and time-consuming and the inevitable result is that many companies send them to landfill or, if they’re particularly irresponsible, toss them overboard.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Calibration gas cylinders are made from aluminium or steel, both of which are valuable materials to recycling companies or scrap metal agents. As well as benefiting the environment and cutting down on waste, selling on empty cylinders will also provide you with some additional income – empty cylinders are likely to be worth around $2 each.
However, because they’re classified as hazardous, recycling companies won’t simply accept cylinders as they are, they need preparing first.
Firstly, it’s important to make sure that your calibration gas container can be recycled. Many gas supply companies specify that they can’t so always make sure by reading the manufacturer’s label or contacting them directly.
You also need to check the regulations. Legislation regarding disposal and recycling differs from country to country – as well as organisation to organisation – so be clear about exactly which guidelines you need to follow.
The most important part of preparing your cylinders for recycling is to make sure that they’re completely empty. If it was used to store a toxic or combustible gas there may still be traces of the material inside so most recycling companies will require you to drill a hole in it and write ‘empty’ or ‘punctured’ on it using permanent marker – some will even specify that you cut them in half.
The valve must also be removed or made unusable to make sure that the cylinder is no longer pressurised. After this, cylinders are no longer classified as dangerous goods and can be recycled as scrap.
However, it’s this part of the procedure that’s usually the trickiest. Making the valve inoperable will probably involve a vice, some elbow grease, and a specially made tool that’s compatible with the container you’re preparing. Getting the right kind of specially made tool can make all the difference to the time and effort you spend.
All FastCalGas cylinders are suitable for recycling. We also have tools that are simple to use and render the valves unusable quickly and easily. They’re available for all our canisters – 34L Aluminium and 58L Aluminium as well as 103L Steel and 34L Steel.
It’s a straightforward process that helps take the stress out of the disposal. It also enables you to recover costs by scrapping your used calibration gas cylinders instead of throwing them away.
Save the planet and save money.