Recycle Your Empty IsoPro Fuel Canisters at the Seattle Program Center

Learn more about how to recycle your empty isopro-style fuel canisters at The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center and keep this hazardous waste out of the landfill.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 28, 2022
Recycle Your Empty IsoPro Fuel Canisters at the Seattle Program Center
Fuel canisters and ice axe. Photo courtesy of MSR.

Updated September 28, 2022 at 6pm.

In 2018, we launched a partnership with MSR to develop a recycling program for our members to safely and responsibly dispose of empty isopro-style fuel canisters. Four years later and this program is still running. We invite you to participate following the guidelines below.

Isopro-style fuel canisters

Help us keep more fuel canisters out of the landfill! Empty isopro-style fuel canisters (any brand) can be dropped off in our office during regular business hours. We're open 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Find holiday closings and additional extended hours for the bookstore on our bookstore page.

No Coleman.png

NOTE: we CANNOT accept the green Coleman-style propane canisters for recycling. If you are a Recology CleanScapes residential recycling customer in the greater Seattle area, you can drop these small propane canisters off at a Recology store for free (non-customers can drop off for a small fee). Learn more

How do I check if my fuel canister is empty?

  • First, burn off any excess fuel--make sure to run your stove until the flame goes out completely (it's better to burn the hydrocarbons than to simply release them into the atmosphere).
  • Next, to purge any remaining fuel, either use a specialty tool to vent any remaining fuel, or attach a stove to the canister, invert it, and open the valve. Be sure to do this step away from any sources of sparks or flames.
  • Alternatively, you can weigh your canister on a digital scale and compare the weight to the printed weight on the canister (gross weight - net weight = weight of empty canister).

You do not have to puncture your empty fuel canisters before dropping them off with us, but if you want to do so, go right ahead. We have a specialized tool to puncture canisters for recycling and we're happy to puncture any empty, intact canisters before bringing them to the recycling center. 

Can't i just put these in my Household curbside recycling?

Maybe, it depends on where you live. In the city of Seattle, according to Seattle Public Utilities, fuel canisters are treated as hazardous waste and go to the landfill, even if they are empty and punctured. Before putting your empty fuel canisters in curbside recycling, be sure to check with your local recycler to find out what their policy is on recycling fuel canisters.

Machine used to puncture empty canisters at MSR

What are we doing with the empty canisters?

Mountaineers Program Center staff periodically drop the canisters off at United Recycling. We're excited to be supporting better recycling and putting fewer of canisters in the landfill. Thanks for your partnership in this effort!

Originally published May 25, 2018.

special Thanks to Brandon Bills and Iris diligencia of MSR for their support on this project, and for the use of the images in this post.

Add a comment

Log in to add comments.
Alina Badus
Alina Badus says:
May 25, 2018 03:59 PM

Yes!! I am so glad you are doing this. Thank you!

Mark Ayers
Mark Ayers says:
May 29, 2018 02:30 PM

Thank you to the Seattle Program Center and MSR. This is great news.

Bridget Potter
Bridget Potter says:
Jun 05, 2018 10:50 PM

Thank you Mountaineers! Once again doing something wonderful for our outdoor community. FYI for those folks who are Recology customers (i.e. residents of Shoreline, Issaquah, Bothell and Burien), you can drop off the green propane canisters at their retail stores

Amanda Virbitsky
Amanda Virbitsky says:
Jun 06, 2018 10:55 AM

Woah, cool! Thanks for this info, Bridget! I'll pass it along.

Petr Praus
Petr Praus says:
Jun 06, 2018 09:45 AM

Would it be possible to have a collection box somewhere around the center (maybe even outside under the roof?) so that canister collection is not constrained by your office hours?

Amanda Virbitsky
Amanda Virbitsky says:
Jun 20, 2018 04:47 PM

Hi Peter - because we are dealing with fuel canisters, and we want this process to be as safe as possible for everyone involved, we're opting to restrict canister collection to our bookstore hours so that staff can ensure that we're taking in only empty isopro-style canisters (and not whatever items someone chooses to toss in an unattended bin outside our building). We recognize our location and hours may not work for everyone's schedules, and hope that in the future, more businesses and organizations will start collecting items like this for recycling! Be sure to check out our bookstore hours page, as we do often have extended hours for events, and we're always open until 7pm on Wednesday evenings.

Ilona Berzups
Ilona Berzups says:
Jan 05, 2020 09:08 AM

Fantastic! I’d live to see a similar program in Tacoma. Will recommend. Thanks for all the good work you do.

Ilona Berzups
Ilona Berzups says:
Jan 05, 2020 09:09 AM