Can You Scrap Empty Propane Tanks

barbque tank scrap
Can you scrap empty propane tanks? Yes, you can scrap old propane tanks that are completely empty.

Scrap yards will accept old empty barbeque propane tanks as well as propane tanks that many people use to heat their homes.

There are however, some guidelines that you must follow. You can not just fill up the back of your truck with empty propane tanks and show up to your local scrap yard expecting to get paid.

Even if you have empty propane tanks that have never been used each and every one of them must be cut open.

Why? Even the smallest amount of fumes or vapor inside of propane tanks is flammable. Someone would definitely get hurt if one of our machine operators loaded an uncut propane tank into a crusher or metal shredder.

For this reason as well as state and city requirements, all empty propane tanks that are accepted as scrap metal must be cut in half or have a 3inch by 6inch hole cut into them.

A company that is certified to handle propane must reclaim any propane that is left in tanks you have.

Handling propane can be dangerous. They may feel empty as I said but there are still flammable fumes and vapor inside of the tank.

propane valve wrench
Cutting Open Empty Propane Tanks

Line up your empty propane tanks outside, in a clearing that is away from your home and any type of flame.

Open the valves on the tanks. You may hear the hiss of vapor escaping the tanks. As long as the tanks are empty, the hissing should only last 3 to 5 seconds.

Allow the empty propane tanks to sit undisturbed, with their valves open for at least 24 hours.

Purchase a propane valve wrench and a pry bar. You can find them at local stores. If not your best bet is to buy both items online. Do not use a hammer to try and break the valve off of the empty propane tanks.

Secure the propane tank by using a vise that is attached to your work bench or sawhorse.

Use a flat or Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew and remove the small safety relief on the side of the main valve on the empty propane tanks.

Place the valve wrench down around the tanks valve. Insert your pry bar into the slots at the top of the propane valve wrench.

Slowly turn the valve wrench to the left to loosen the valve. Some propane tanks, depending on the manufacturer, require you to turn the tank’s valve to the right to loosen it. I wanted to specifically mention this in case you happen to have one of these types of backward tanks.

Once the valve is loose enough for you to remove it the rest of the way by hand, do so. Don’t throw away the valve because it is made of brass. The handle on the valve is most often made of aluminum.

Don’t cut the tanks just yet. Fill the tank up with water and then empty it. Do this one more time. Filling the tanks with water insures that all fumes and vapor will be eliminated.

Choose an area on the empty propane tanks where you want to start cutting. Use a reciprocating saw or any tool that will cut through the steel. Be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves as well.

The process may take some time but you should instead of just cutting a hole, cut the tanks completely in half.

Some scrap yards will accept the empty propane tank with a hole cut into it. Most of the scrap dealers and scrap yard owners that I know prefer that the tanks be cut into 2 pieces before it will be accepted as scrap metal.