Change your cylinder, change the world |

Change your cylinder, change the world

Switching to reusable 1 lb propane cylinders saves money, improves the environment

Sponsored by California Product Stewardship Council
To learn more, or to find all locations across the US that are participating in this program, visit

Ah, it’s summertime.  Camping, barbecues, days by the lake or river, these are things we wait for all year long.  But while we might not think about it while we’re having fun, those 1 lb propane cylinders we use in our camp stoves and other portable appliances add up in both cost and environmental impact.

Now, your outdoor fun can be a little greener by making the simple, convenient switch to a reusable 1 lb propane cylinder.  Every year in North America, 40 million single-use 1 lb propane cylinders are used, with over four million in California alone.   Because of limited, expensive recycling options, the empty cylinders are often disposed of improperly in landfills, dumpsters, household trash, campsites, on the roadside, or in recycling containers.  Not to mention, the cost of those cheap single-use cylinders really adds up; especially when you learn that 80% of the cost is for the packaging, which is dangerous and more expensive than we realize.  When “empty”, single-use cylinders often still contain a small amount of gas, posing a danger to sanitation workers due to the risk of explosions and resulting fires. Because of the danger involved, they cost millions of dollars to recycle and dispose of properly.

“We are trying to educate the public about these cheap cylinders that they use, not realizing that there is danger because when there is a little left in the cylinders and they are compacted by waste management, these can explode,” explained Nate Pelczar, Special Projects Manager with the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC).  “We are trying to remove these from the waste streams, and instead get into people’s hands these super cool, super easy, reusable 1 lb propane cylinders.” 

Nate Pelczar enjoys using a reusable propane cylinder. Photo courtesy of CPSC
CPSC Nate Photo

Switching to reusable cylinders is a smart and easy way to help people save both the environment and money.  Once you have a reusable cylinder, they can be used hundreds of times over ten years, and they pay for themselves after refilling just five times.  And those savings apply not only to the consumer, but to everyone who pays taxes or fees, as well. “Most people don’t realize how expensive it is for local jurisdictions to dispose of single-use cylinders properly.  It often costs more than paying for a new one; up to $40 to destroy a spent cylinder, and both the consumer and rate payer is footing the bill.  We can lower that cost to ratepayers by making this simple switch to reusable propane cylinders.”

To make things even more convenient, you don’t even have to refill your cylinder, you can instead take part in an easy exchange program.  For this, a consumer goes to one of many convenient locations to buy the cylinder pre-filled, uses it, and exchanges the empty cylinder for a full one.  And the best part is, you don’t have to travel to a big box store to participate in the exchange program; you can get them right here at five locations in Nevada County: Grass Valley Mobil, HBE Rentals, Inn Town Campground, and Chevron and Tahoe Mountain Sports in Truckee.  There is also a collection cage for single-use tanks at Donner Lake Memorial State Park. 

“Nevada County has such beautiful surroundings, we want to help protect those by having as many people make this very easy behavioral change that is both affordable and protects the environment,” said Pelczar.  “It’s easy.  It’s cheap. It’s convenient.  It supports local business.  It saves the ratepayers money.  It reduces waste.  Be part of the solution and make this change.”

To learn more, or to find all locations across the US that are participating in this program, visit

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