Empty isobutane fuel canisters—you know, the little dome-shaped fuel cans used by backpacking stoves—are a blessed joy in the backcountry, but what do you do when they’re empty? Recycle them at home? That can be harder than it seems depending on where you live—more on that in a minute. Accumulate a massive tower of empties in the garage? Throw them in the garbage?

If you live in or near Seattle, we have good news. MSR’s Seattle Repair Shop will now accept your empty fuel cans, regardless of manufacturer, recycle them for you, and give you a 20 percent discount on a purchase of new fuel canisters for your trouble. The shop is located at 130 South Dakota Street, Seattle, WA 98134.

They aren’t allowed to accept fuel canisters by mail, so it’s in person-only.

“We have been working to educate customers on how to safely and properly recycle fuel canisters for decades,” said Iris Diligencia, lead repair technician, MSR Repair Shop. “This recycling initiative creates an easy option solution for our customers and furthers our efforts to reduce landfill waste.”


If you don’t live anywhere near MSR’s Seattle location you can most likely take steps to recycle empty fuel canisters through your local recycling service. Here’s a list of steps:

• Make sure canister is empty of fuel. Burning it all is best, but there are tools, like the Jetboil Crunchit that help release the last little bit of fuel.

• Puncture the canister. Screwdriver, hammer, ice axe, sharp rock, icepick, whatever you like. The little Jetboil tool will puncture a can too.

• Find out where to recycle mixed metals, drop the empty and punctured can off there, and you’re all done. Some towns will accept these canisters in the regular curbside recycling run, so check your local rules and regs.