Gas cylinders may be refilled or recycled as scrap metal. Generally made from steel, recycling reduces the energy required to produce steel products from raw materials. Gas cylinders should not be placed in landfill where they may explode or leak toxic gas.
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Gas cylinders and their fittings are generally manufactured from plate steel, a metal that can be effectively recycled over and over again. This can save up to 75 per cent of the energy needed to make steel products from raw materials. Some gas cylinders are also suitable for reuse through refilling. If not possible then cylinders must always be degassed and devalved before they can be recycled. The potentially hazardous nature of pressurised cylinders makes them a priority to divert from landfill where they may place the health and safety of employees and members of the public at risk, should the cylinder explode or leak poisonous gas when compacted.
CAC GAS operates an Australia wide program for disposing of all empty non-refillable calibration gas cylinders. This service is provided through a collection box and courier pick up when the box is full. Fees do apply for this service and no propane BBQ, stove or lamp cylinders are accepted.
Many manufactures accept cylinders for return including BOC / CIG, Matheson, Linde, GasTech, Air Liquide, LAA or Liquid Air cylinders. Diving tanks should be returned to the manufacturer, via dive centres or re-fillers. If you are unsure if a cylinder can be returned, it is advisable to contact the manufacture.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
Typically cylinders are tested for reuse and if possible refilled by manufactures. Those cylinders damaged, deteriorated, or for other reasons unfit for reuse are recycled as scrap metal. Most gas cylinders are not safe to be recycled unless they have been degassed, devalved, and may be punctured or in some other way tagged to indicate their ‘gas free’ status.