Campers confident in their fire-making skills — and the weather — may rely on a campfire to cook, but many of the thousands who camp in Colorado’s mountains and valleys tote stoves and canisters of propane into the high country for more reliable cooking.
But disposing of those canisters once empty can prove tricky in the Denver area. Small propane tanks are considered hazardous waste and cannot be thrown away in regular trash. They also shouldn’t be refilled unless specifically marked as refillable.
Denver doesn’t have a program that accepts propane canisters, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said. They’re not accepted in the city’s normal recycling or through the hazardous waste program, she said.
Aurora doesn’t accept them, either, and neither do Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada or Westminster. Some municipalities and counties, however, partner with companies to provide discounted or free recycling.
Denver-area residents can drop off canisters at the following locations:
- Rooney Road Recycling at 151 S. Rooney Road in Golden accepts the canisters by appointment between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is no fee for the canisters. To book an appointment, visit rooneyroadrecycling.org or call 303-316-6262.
- Metro Gas at 790 W. 64th Ave. in Adams County accepts small propane canisters for a fee of 25 cents per canister, to be paid in cash. The facility is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointment is needed, but the facility manager recommends calling ahead.
- AAA Propane at 7405 W. 44th Ave. in Wheat Ridge accepts used small propane cylinders for free without an appointment. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
- Veolia’s Colorado Recycling Center at 9131 E. 96th Ave. in Henderson accepts canisters by appointment for Adams County residents between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. The cost for recycling is a $26 facility fee plus $1.25 per pound.
- Boulder County Hazardous Material Management Facility at 1901 63rd St. in Boulder accepts propane canisters from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Residents of Boulder County, Broomfield and Erie can use the facility for free but residents of other areas will pay a $45 fee.
Some small butane canisters — like those used for backpacking — are accepted through some regular recycling programs if they are empty and a hole is punched in them.