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Safe and Sustainable Disposal for Air Products' Non-Refillable Gas Canisters

Air Products’ non-refillable gas canisters provide a portable and convenient solution for calibration and analysis across several critical industries. However, once these products have been used and reached the end of their life cycle an important question is raised: How to dispose of empty gas canisters?

In this article we’ll explore the options for properly disposing of your used canisters, preparing them for recycling and covering actions that need to be avoided to ensure both safety and environmental responsibility.

Why Responsible Disposal Matters

It is essential that the user is fully aware of the main characteristics of the gases being disposed of, particularly important if they are toxic, flammable, oxidising, harmful, or corrosive. Each of these characteristics can dictate which methods of disposal are practical and effective.

Safety: If they are incorrectly disposed of, pressurised canisters pose a serious risk of leaks or explosions, a vital concern for both people and the environment.
Sustainability: Proper disposal minimises environmental impact and maximises recycling potential, ensuring minimal material wastage.
Compliance: Following local regulations guarantees proper handling and disposal, upholding legal requirements and contributing to a safer environment.

Laboratories, workshops and other workplaces where calibration and analysis occur rely on a safe environment. By ensuring proper disposal of canisters, you minimise the potential for accidents and create a safer space for everyone.

Recycling Empty Canisters

but before these products are recycled, users must make sure to completely deplete and depressurise all canisters.

With our specialised Canister Recycler Tool the low torque, portable design allows operators to safely depressurise all Air Products valves marked ISO 11118 ensuring that they can be safely recycled.
For other valve types and aerosol canisters the The Fixed Position Recycler  should be used. The fixed position recycler tool is designed to make Air Products 34L and 58L canisters and aerosols safe prior to recycling.  
It is also worth noting that in the European Union, non-pressurised canisters can be recycled through the normal waste stream as non-hazardous products meaning that the extra costs associated with both hazardous waste disposal and dangerous goods transportation are significantly reduced.

Outside of the European Union, the relevant local authority and regulations should be consulted.

Recycling used non-refillable canisters offers a host of benefits such as conserving resources, reduced landfill waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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Local Waste Disposal Facilities

In some instances, authorised waste disposal facilities may accept empty canisters often having specific criteria for accepting canisters, such as valve types, materials or residual gas volumes.

In cases where a conventional waste facility will not accept your empty canisters, you may need to utilise a specialised waste facility which is equipped to handle potentially hazardous gas mixtures.

If your canisters contained specific gases that fall under hazardous waste regulations, these facilities might be the only option. Always check the canister label for information on potential hazards.

However, this method of disposal often involves additional paperwork, potential fees and specific regional regulations so it is important to speak with your local authorities for guidance before pursuing this option.

Ensuring Maximum Safety and Compliance

Remember, even seemingly empty canisters can harbour residual gas, posing serious risks if handled improperly. That’s why it is crucial to avoid the following when disposing of non-refillable gas canisters.


Puncture or Incinerate Canisters: This is extremely dangerous. Puncturing or incinerating pressurised canisters can trigger explosions, releasing harmful gas and potentially causing serious injuries or even fatalities. Remember, residual gas can be highly flammable and sensitive to extreme temperatures.

Leave Pressurised Canisters Unattended: Treat every canister with caution, even after depressurisation. Never leave pressurised canisters unattended, especially in confined spaces or near heat sources. Leaks can occur over time, posing safety hazards to anyone in the vicinity.

Dispose of Canisters in Unmarked or Untraceable Ways: Don't be tempted to simply throw pressurised canisters away with regular waste or abandon them in unauthorised locations. This irresponsible act endangers others and contaminates the environment. Always follow responsible disposal methods and utilise authorised channels.


Depressurise Canisters Using the Appropriate Method: The safest and most efficient way to render canisters inert is by using Air Products' dedicated canister recycling tools. Never improvise or use alternative methods that haven't been tested and approved for their specific valve types.

Store Canisters Safely Before Disposal: Once depressurised, keep canisters in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area until disposal. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, extreme temperatures or open flames. Securely close any caps or valves to prevent accidental leaks.

Check Local Regulations for Specific Guidelines: Every region has its own laws and regulations regarding the disposal of hazardous materials, including empty gas canisters. Stay informed about local regulations and ensure you comply with all disposal requirements.

Speak to the Experts

Air Products is a leading supplier of calibration gases and gas control equipment.
Utilise our intuitive product selector to help you find the perfect solution for your specific applications.

Alternatively, contact our experts, we have the expertise and experience to provide guidance of gas mixture selection, bespoke mixtures and recycling options for your canisters.

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