Disposal of Old Propane Tanks (Grill size)

Propane-fueled gas grills outnumber charcoal, electric, and natural gas combined grills combined, so chances are good that you have one, or more.

A propane tank has a 12-year life span. You can see a stamp on the collar around the valve to see when your tank began service. Add 12 years to determine if your tank is too old. The date is usually month year: 12 – 11 or December 2011 in this picture.  The tank in this picture is good until December 2023.


What is Propane?

Propane is one of the nation’s most versatile sources of energy and supplies 3 to 4% of our total energy. Propane is an approved, alternate clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as well as the National Energy Policy Act of 1992. Propane can be either a liquid or a gas. At normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, it is a non-toxic, colorless and odorless gas. Under moderate pressure, propane becomes a liquid that vaporizes into a clean-burning gas when released from its storage container. Just like natural gas, an identifying odor is added so it can be readily detected.

How do I get rid of an old propane tank?

Fairfax County residents can take small tanks less than 20 pounds to the White Goods/Metal Recycling Area of the I-66 Transfer Station or I-95 Landfill Complex. Some local propane dealers will take the old tank if you buy a new one from them. Otherwise, most dealers charge a recycling fee.

Does Junk King take propane tanks?

Yes, and carefully! In turn, we use a service that properly transports and disposes of the tanks. We do not charge extra for propane tanks.

What do homeowners need to know about handing old propane tanks?

If you have an old propane tank, do not throw it in with your regular trash. All previously used propane tanks have some amount of gas left in them. Do not put an propane tank into a dumpster or other disposal container. Many trash trucks and dumpsters are also compactors. When the trash truck or dumpster compacts its load, the tank ruptures releasing the rest of the propane and may cause an explosion and fire.

When storing tanks—even empty tanks—store them outside. Store tanks in an upright position. Never store tanks on their side or upside down.

Do not attempt to remove the valve from your tank. Special safety equipment is required to prevent explosion. Removal of valves involves costly equipment and extensive training to meet the requirements set out in National Fire Protection Association.

If you have any questions about disposing propane tanks –or anything else for  that matter, please call us at (703) 455-6831.