Disposing of an old or damaged barbecue gas grill is not as simple as merely throwing out the unit. Because of the specific and potentially dangerous nature of typical gas grill components, owners of these barbecue grills can’t simply put the grill out with the normal household trash. Even if you’re trying to be responsible and recycle gas grill parts, certain items, like propane tanks, for example, are not suitable for recycling right away like other recyclable materials you may toss.
Propane tanks are actually considered hazardous waste. You must look into the specific laws for your area before discarding an old propane tank, as in some states is illegal to do so incorrectly. This law can often extend to mandate where you can store used or unused tanks, including dictating whether you can put them inside sheds, under a porch area, or in your garage.
Because of the particular steps involved, the first and most important aspect of getting rid of any barbecue gas grill is recycling the propane tank. The rest of the grill components are disposed of separately and in a specific manner.
Disposing of the Propane Tank
Verifying the Presence of Propane
Begin by attempting to verify if there is still any propane left in the tank. Assuming your gas grill is still in working condition and is not being tossed due to damage, you can slightly turn on the knob for your burner on the gas grill to see if the tank is completely empty. Initially, you should be able to smell the gas. Light a match near the burner and see if the grill ignites as it normally does.
If you either can’t smell the gas or can’t get the stove lit right away, do not keep trying. If your tank is by chance expelling gas but simply isn’t lighting through the grill, turning the knob and lighting a match over and over is a recipe for disaster.
WARNING: Do this carefully. Both the gas and flame can be dangerous. Do not turn the knob on full blast or use an excessively large flame to ignite the stove.
Discharging a Propane Tank
Next, a propane tank needs to be completely ‘discharged’ or emptied before any company will take it.
The best and safest way to approach this step is to take it to a reputable propane dealer in your area. If you are unsure where one might be located, the internet will point you in the right direction. Alternatively, boat and RV dealerships can usually recommend a good place.
Once you know where to go, remove a propane tank from a barbecue by capping your lines, turning the valve on the tank off, and loosening the bolts attaching the tank to the gas grill.
In some areas, propane tanks are considered so volatile that the fire service can be asked to dispose of them. Gas companies and hazardous waste specialists can also be contacted.
Tanks which come from a barbecue gas grill more than 10 years old face even stricter legislation; these require different handling and almost always require disposal with the assistance of the fire service or hazardous items removal teams – remember that storing propane tanks inside the building is a serious hazard, and also illegal in most locations.
WARNING: DO NOT empty propane tanks by simply letting the gas escape via the valve. Propane venting freely into the atmosphere can cause an area to become very dangerous, flammable. Additionally, because propane is both heavier than the normal air present in the atmosphere, it can collect invisibly at your feet or in a low area.
Getting Rid of the Rest
When disposing of the BBQ gas grill, remember that the most important and difficult item to dispose of is the propane tank. Once this has been taken away, then the rest of the device can simply be destroyed, thrown out, or recycled in a streamlined fashion.
Throwing Out the Grill
At this point, it probably seems like you’ve been spending a lot of time just getting rid of the tank, and rightfully so, but now you’re ready to dispose of the rest of the components and the grill itself. Thankfully, throwing out these parts is a much simpler process.
The rest of your barbecue gas grill will usually consist of metal and plastic items, sometimes stained with grease, and a small amount of charcoal blocks. The grill itself can be cleaned and either put out for recycling, given to scrap merchants, or even donated to a charity. Some areas now allow barbecue gas grills to be disposed of the whole in certain areas.
Grill Parts You Can’t Just Throw Away
Anything electrical or flame-creating, such as the ignition button and sparks, must be removed from the grill and disposed of properly – throwing them away could result in prosecution. Look up your local government regulations to be sure you properly dispose of these components.
The heated charcoal bricks inside the grill need to be removed and ‘destroyed’ by burning. This can be done in the back yard, or by simply leaving the grill lit until all of the bricks are gone.
WARNING: Be sure to supervise either process to avoid larger fires from igniting and spreading.