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I take a Primus EtaExpress stove with me when camping, and am slowing accumulating a collection of canisters with only around ~20% gas in them.

With this little gas, they don't have enough pressure to be useful in anything except ideal conditions (hot, windless, and you have all the time in the world) but I'm reluctant to dispose of them.

Is there a good way of constructively using up the remaining gas - and what's the right way to recycle the canisters when they are properly empty?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

To Dispose:
Vent all the fuel, then puncture the sidewall. Once you have done this, it can be dumped in the appropriate recycling bin. Jetboil makes a tool to help with this, for which they've made a nice instructional video.

To Use:
An option to wasting that last 20% is to have an inverted canister setup. Since this relies on gravity instead of boiling via depressurization then you will use more of the fuel, but is going to be heavier to carry.

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If you can't vent the fuel, your local municipality may have a "hazardous waste pickup day" where you can give them unused aerosol (spray paint) cans, batteries, and fuel containers. – RoboKaren Jun 9 at 9:54

A third option to Russell Steen's excellent two is:

To Refill:

There are adapters (from G-Works and Alva, amongst others) that will let you refill them using either other butane canisters, larger 16oz propane canisters, as well as the small aerosol-cans of butane that you can get at Asian markets. Adventures in Stoving has a nice article of refilling canisters using the adapter setup pictured below:

Canister filling up

Fine print: There are of course many caveats to refilling canisters that weren't designed to be refilled. Your mileage may vary. Do not store refilled canisters in enclosed spaces with ignition sources. Do not smoke while refilling canisters. Do not allow moisture to get into your canister. Do not refill canisters that appear damaged. If it blows up or leaks, it's your fault. etc. etc.

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