Oxygen tanks are incredibly useful, but they aren’t the most versatile of items. When you’ve finished with an oxygen tank, you probably find yourself wondering what to do with it.
Oxygen tanks are made of metal, which means they can be recycled. However, they’re classed as a hazardous material, and can’t be placed in your curbside recycling.
You’ll need to contact local recycling centers to find out just what to do with your old tank, to ensure it’s safely disposed of.
Find out more about safely disposing of oxygen tanks with this guide.
How To Dispose Of An Old Oxygen Tank?
The best way to get rid of an oxygen tank is to recycle it. Oxygen tanks are made from either aluminum or stainless steel, and both these materials can be recycled.
That doesn’t mean you can just toss an old oxygen tank in with your standard household recycling. Instead, follow these steps to ensure your oxygen tank is disposed of correctly.
If you aren’t able to dispose of your oxygen tank right away, make sure to keep it safely stored.
Oxygen might not be flammable, but it can cause other materials to ignite, and facilitate a quicker burn.
Oxygen tanks, even used oxygen tanks, should be kept in well-ventilated areas, away from flammable objects.
Check The Material
Oxygen tanks are made from either aluminum or stainless steel. Both of these materials can be recycled, but they’re recycled using different methods.
Because of this, it’s important to know exactly what material you’re dealing with.
If it doesn’t say on the tank what type of material it is, then you can use a magnet test.
A magnet will stick to stainless steel, but it won’t stick to aluminum. Still not convinced? Try searching for the tank online, and see what material it’s listed as.
Empty The Tank
The next step is to ensure the tank is completely empty. You can do this by simply opening the valve, and allowing the oxygen to drain away.
For some tanks, you may need to remove the regulator as well.
At most, it should only take a couple of hours for the oxygen tank to drain. Do this in a well ventilated area.
Contact Your Local Recycling Center
Oxygen tanks can be recycled, but that doesn’t mean all recycling centers have the facilities to deal with them.
Contact your local recycling center, and describe the type of oxygen tank, and the material it’s made from.
If they’re unable to accept the tank, inquire after other recycling centers that can dispose of the tank. You’ll then need to contact these centers directly, to find out more.
If your local recycling center can dispose of the tank, check what you need to do with any attachments.
While some centers will be able to take the tank as is, some may need you to remove the attachments before donating the tank.
Contact The Manufacturer
If the recycling center was a dead end, get in contact with the tank manufacturer. They should be able to provide further guidance.
Some manufacturers will allow you to return the tank to them, and they can dispose of it easily.
Alternatively, contact the store or supplier who sold you the oxygen tank. They should know methods for safe disposal. They may also allow you to return the tank.
Remove Any Attachments
Before recycling your oxygen tank, you may be required to remove any attachments, such as tubing, regulators, and valves.
You should be able to recycle these materials as well, but it’s best to double-check. When you contact your local recycling center, make sure to ask about the attachments.
You’re ready to recycle your oxygen tank! Follow the instructions given to you by the local recycling center, or the manufacturer, to ensure a safe disposal of your old oxygen tank.
Can You Refill An Oxygen Tank?
Before recycling your oxygen tank, you should try reusing it! Oxygen tanks can be refilled and reused.
If you think you will need to use an oxygen tank again, then you should always try reusing an old tank, before buying a new one.
The best method for refilling a tank will depend on where the tank came from and what it is used for.
If you use your tank for diving or aquatic activities, then contact your local dive store. If the tank is for medical usage, contact a hospital or medical supply company.
If the tank is damaged, it will need to be recycled, and not reused.
Donating Old Oxygen Tanks
If you have no further use for your oxygen tank but it’s in good condition, you can try donating it.
Begin by contacting local charities. You can try contacting hospitals and health facilities in your area, but many of them will be unable to accept donations.
Instead, ask local charities if they can find a use for an old oxygen tank.
If you have an old SCUBA tank that still works, you might be able to sell it. You probably won’t make a lot of money, but it’s still an option to consider.
Damaged tanks can also potentially net you a small profit As they’re made of metal, you may be able to sell your tank to a scrap metal dealer.
What Not To Do With An Old Oxygen Tank
You should never dispose of an old oxygen tank in your standard household waste. Because it is a pressurized container, an oxygen tank is classed as a hazardous material.
It needs to be treated with care, both during curbside pickup, and at the recycling center.
In some areas, you will be able to recycle the oxygen tank as curbside waste, if marked as a hazardous material.
However, you should always contact your local waste management facility before attempting this.
Oxygen tanks are made of metal, and therefore can be recycled. Before disposing of your tank, empty it completely, and remove any attachments.
Contact local recycling centers to see if they’ll accept oxygen tanks, and if they don’t, contact the manufacturer.