The Little Green Gremlins
Did you know that an estimated 40 million 1-pound propane gas cylinders are sold in North America each year? The cylinders are used in camping stoves, lanterns, tailgating grills, welding equipment and more. You have probably seen those little green bottles lining the shelves at home supply stores.
Just like other conveniently packaged consumer goods, they are used and discarded without a second thought. The cylinders are left behind at campgrounds and parks, or worse, disposed of in dumpsters. Many people don’t realize the risks to others if disposed of incorrectly. Even a small remnant of liquid propane can lead to combustion.
Even when disposed of correctly, an estimated 3.3 million cubic feet of landfill space each year is filled by these cylinders.
They are such an issue that some national parks like Yosemite National Park have disposal stations to manage them. When we took our Texas to California trip in 2017, we saw the bins of little green bottles everywhere. At the time, I didn’t realize the significance.
Since the cylinders contain a flammable fuel (even the empties), they are expensive to manage properly. They must first be punctured and emptied to transport and recycle them. The costs to handle them average $4.99 to $5.99. That is a fascinating stat when you consider that you can purchase the new ones for as little as $3.49.
I don’t fancy myself to be a tree hugger. But, I do believe strongly that we should take reasonable steps to preserve the beautiful land that God created. As a result, I loathe the little green monsters.
But, how do I power my portable propane devices?
You may not know that a couple of companies make refillable 1-pound propane cylinders. With a couple of bottles and a simple adapter, you can refill your 1-pound cylinders from a standard 20-pound propane can.
Not only is that better for the environment, it also becomes economical. Rather than spending $3-5 for each little green bottle, you can top off from the propane you buy in bulk during an exchange.
There is another option for things like stoves, grills and heaters if you prefer not to refill those refillable cylinders. You can buy an adapter hose to attach those devices to your standard 20-pound propane tank. (Be sure that your device has a regulator if you plan to hook directly.)