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Published on 14/03/2019

How to Recycle Your Gas Cylinders

In order to meet legal and industry requirements, and ensure safety in the workplace, it’s critical to that your gas-detection devices are functioning correctly. These gas detectors serve a vital role by monitoring environmental conditions and alerting us to potential leaks or hazardous conditions. Conducting frequent calibration tests means that you’ll be going through a lot of span gas—it also means you’ll be left with a lot of empty gas cylinders.

Gas Cylinder Disposal Considerations

If you use span gas to calibrate your gas detection instruments, such as FastCalGas—the one-stop-shop for all your gas calibration needs—you might be wondering what to do with all those empty cylinders. That’s especially true if you’re benefiting from huge savings by buying in bulk!

Owing to the nature of the product, span gases are marked as dangerous goods and are subject to strict regulation, particularly when it comes to transporting them. Though your gas supplier has extensive experience in handling and shipping these materials, customers are often left wondering what to do with the non-refillable, used containers. Even if they’re empty, gas cylinders may still be considered hazardous material. As such, it isn’t immediately obvious how to properly dispose of spent cylinders, let alone recycle them.

Should I Recycle My Empty Gas Cylinders?

Today’s gas supplies customers are highly eco-conscious individuals. We all want to reduce our ecological footprint, and recycling is one of the best ways to do our part for the environment. In the case of scrap metal, recycling can also allow you to recoup some of the cost of the product. Gas cylinders are typically made from aluminium or steel, which are valuable materials. However, because recycling companies won’t accept empty cylinders as-is, many customers feel they have no choice but to send the spent containers to the landfill.

The truth is, with the proper processing, you can—and should—recycle gas cylinders! It’s actually a lot easier than you might think.

How Do I Prepare Used Gas Cylinders for Recycling?

  1. Make sure your gas cylinder is eligible for recycling: Read the labelling on the container or check with your gas supplier to determine whether or not it’s recyclable. All of the span gas cylinders sold by FastCalGas can be recycled as normal.
  2. Check your local regulations: Depending on where you live, the laws in your country or state will differ when it comes to the disposal of gas cylinders. Individual companies may also have policies in place that describe additional procedures you need to follow.
  3. Ensure the cylinder is empty: Owing to safety considerations, the most important step in recycling gas cylinders is to empty it completely. This is because non-empty containers may still contain traces of dangerous or combustible material. It’s recommended that you also drill a hole in the spent containers. Once this is done, you can use a permanent marker to mark it as “EMPTY” or “PUNCTURED.” Some recycling companies also ask that containers be cut in half. Contact disposal facilities near you for their specific requirements.
  4. Remove the valve, or render it unusable: For a gas cylinder to be accepted by a scrap metal agent or other recycling facilities, the valve must be removed or made inoperable. This ensures the cylinder is no longer pressurised and is therefore no longer classified as a dangerous good. This procedure typically involves placing the cylinder in a vice and using a specialised tool to remove the valve. Without the right tool, getting that valve off can be a real problem.

Thankfully, we offer a low-cost, convenient solution to do just that!

Martek Marine is well known and respected worldwide for the supply and support of high-quality, affordable maritime equipment and span gases. In order to meet all your calibration gas needs, a recycling tool compatible with 34L aluminium, 58L aluminium, and 103L steel cylinders, as well as a tool for 34L steel cylinders are also available. These easy-to-use devices render the valve unusable, rather than the container itself.

  1. Take appropriate safety precautions: Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when working with gas cylinders and accessories. Use only recycling tools compatible with the valve type for which it’s designed, and never use damaged tools on a gas cylinder. Wear safety glasses and work in a well-ventilated area—either outdoors or under a fume hood.

Once decommissioned, gas cylinders are treated as regular scrap metal. You can then sell them to scrap metal agents. Since calibration tests must be performed regularly, reselling the processed cylinders drastically reduces your administrative expenses.

Disposing of Empty Gas Cylinders Doesn’t Have to be a Hassle.

Instead of throwing away your used gas cylinders, recycle them! Recycling benefits the environment by promoting the sustainable use of valuable resources and allows you to recoup some of the cost of your gas calibration supplies. Although gas cylinders cannot be recycled as-is, with our low-cost recycling tools, processing your gas cylinders is simple, affordable, and easy.

Remove the stress from your cylinder disposal now