View Full Version : Propane Cylinders - Deposit, but no return


Torino Dan
01-09-2011, 06:25 PM
When you pick up a propane cylinder for your grille, etc. there is one charge for an exchange and then there is one that is $25 or more expensive if you don't have an empty to exchange. For various reasons, I find myself with at least two more 20 lb cylinders than I actually need.

I remember the days of returnable soda bottles. It would seem to me that if you pay what is essentially a deposit on the cylinder, you should be able to return it somewhere for at least a partial refund. I have ask everyone from Walmart to the local gas company, to the recycling center. Nobody wants an empty cylinder back unless you are exchanging it for a full one.

I'm not the "greenest" guy around, but this sure seems wasteful. The smaller camping cylinders are even worse in that I don't believe you can exchange those at all. They are a throw away.

Best thing I have heard is to try to sell the empty 20 lb cylinders at a garage sale to someone who needs a spare. Anybody have a better idea?

what have i done
01-09-2011, 07:54 PM
put it on Craigslsit.. Lots of people want a spare for the grill or camper

dgarage
01-09-2011, 07:57 PM
They expire also. I think it's every 7 yrs they need to be tested. Some places don't want to pay that cost.

mdbeck1
01-09-2011, 08:16 PM
Coleman makes an adapter that lets you hook a lantern and a stove to the propane bottles for camping.

I gave my extras to our Boy Scout Troop. Most of their lanterns and stoves are propane.

nehog
01-09-2011, 08:20 PM
I'm confused, it sounds like you are buying a cylinder and then want to get your money back? Does this apply to everything you buy?

Ironcrow
01-09-2011, 08:49 PM
Last time I had this problem, I found a hardware store with a sort of self serve attitude with the tanks sitting in that section of the store. I left two tanks and took one new one.

jwillis
01-09-2011, 09:00 PM
I would think if you had a grill that you would want an extra in case the first one ran out. Just take them and have them refilled. Can't you just refill the one you already have? You can around here.

RbrtAWhyt
01-09-2011, 11:49 PM
put it on Craigslsit.. Lots of people want a spare for the grill or camper


Meth cooks also look for them to store stolen anhydrous ammonia in...

I have two as well. One in the grill and a full one on stand-by. As soon as one goes out I change it and put the empty one in the car. I swing by Wal-Mart on the way home from work the next day and exchange it. It's about $18 at the local wal-mart...

kaffine
01-10-2011, 12:57 AM
I'm confused, it sounds like you are buying a cylinder and then want to get your money back? Does this apply to everything you buy?

A lot of places have tank exchanges. Most grocery stores and hardware stores around here have them even some of the conveince stores if they don't refill propane tanks will exchange them. Bring your empty tank and exchange it for a full tank. Or for more money you can just by a full tank without having the empty to exchange. The extra cost is basically a core charge but they wont let you return the core the next day.

It would be nice if you could pay for a full tank then get the core charge back when you returned the empty tank. This way you could pick up a tank on the way home from work and drop the empty off another day.

hofferwood
01-10-2011, 01:38 AM
Up here if ya aint got one ya gotta buy one.
So to kinda answer the O.P. is the deposit cheaper(ya aint gettin it back) or cheaper at wally world, H.D. etc.

Case in point, Wife bought a new gas grille(the webber takes too long):headscrat
The "New" guy says right on the box "TANK NOT INCLUDED", so we get one.
Get the damned thing home, open er up--- now I have 2 brand new tanks:shocking: It's ok, I like the rotate thing, and do the swap(don't worry about exp.)
Chuck

blazemaster83
01-10-2011, 01:57 AM
meth cooks lol, thats a new one for propane. I am a glassblower, and use propane everyday. I have about 6 bbq tanks, and 2 100lb tanks. I'm a young guy, i wonder if anyone has thought I was a meth cook lol...

RbrtAWhyt
01-10-2011, 02:16 AM
meth cooks lol, thats a new one for propane. I am a glassblower, and use propane everyday. I have about 6 bbq tanks, and 2 100lb tanks. I'm a young guy, i wonder if anyone has thought I was a meth cook lol...

They don't use propane, they use anhydrous ammonia. It's stored in pressurized tanks. Most commonly found at a cook operation is a propane tank. They take the empty propane containers and fill them with anhydrous. They steal it from farmers, meat processing plants, cold storage warehouses, etc. A dead giveaway is the fittings on the tank have turned blue from the reaction with the anhydrous...

http://www.mappsd.org/Tank.jpg

Jeff
01-10-2011, 02:18 AM
Next time you see a tank exchange, look closely. The "full" tanks do not contain 20 pounds. More like 15-17 pounds.

Torino Dan
01-10-2011, 08:07 AM
Thanks for the replies. I have one for the grille and one on stand-by, as I only run out in the middle of cooking. Poor timing I guess :>)

My issue is that over the years I have been forgetful, dumb, whatever. I have needed a full cylinder and not had one of my empties to exchange, so I've just purchased and paid the extra "core" charge. Now I find myself with 4 tanks and really only need two.

I don't want to store the extra tanks (full or not), and this is very much my own fault. I just think a person should be able to return the core for at least a partial refund.

Oh well, I bet if I leave them at the end of the driveway they will disappear. I'll get rid of them but won't get any money back.

jay50
01-10-2011, 08:10 AM
Next time you see a tank exchange, look closely. The "full" tanks do not contain 20 pounds. More like 15-17 pounds.

That is because proper fill procedures have to allow room for expansion.
No, they are not cheating you.

nehog
01-10-2011, 08:29 AM
... Or for more money you can just by a full tank without having the empty to exchange. The extra cost is basically a core charge but they wont let you return the core the next day.

It would be nice if you could pay for a full tank then get the core charge back when you returned the empty tank. This way you could pick up a tank on the way home from work and drop the empty off another day.

You keep saying 'core charge' but you are buying the tank. Big difference there.

BTW there is a reason why they don't do what you say: they would be having every scam artist, petty thief, and drug user bringing in tanks to get the 'core' charge back! (Most saying "Aw, damn, I forgot the receipt, please do it anyway...") Or what happens when someone brings back a tank that is not in acceptable condition?

Were I in this situation I'd simply ask ahead of time if I could return the empty the next day, they will either say "yes" or "no".

ranger_dood
01-10-2011, 09:10 AM
As others have said, you are not paying a "deposit" or a "core charge" when you get a new tank. You are buying the tank. From that point on, the tank is YOURS. Nobody is obligated to give you your money back on it.

SuperSocket
01-10-2011, 09:11 AM
Thanks for the replies. I have one for the grille and one on stand-by, as I only run out in the middle of cooking. Poor timing I guess :>)

My issue is that over the years I have been forgetful, dumb, whatever. I have needed a full cylinder and not had one of my empties to exchange, so I've just purchased and paid the extra "core" charge. Now I find myself with 4 tanks and really only need two.

I don't want to store the extra tanks (full or not), and this is very much my own fault. I just think a person should be able to return the core for at least a partial refund.

Oh well, I bet if I leave them at the end of the driveway they will disappear. I'll get rid of them but won't get any money back.


It's not a core charge, you are buying the actual tank itself. Since these tanks are simple steel bottles, they do not need to be specially recycled and really have no value other than scrap metal. They also expire and when damaged can't be used anymore... so they are really nothing that anyone wants other than those looking for a spare tank.


The tank exchange thing is simply a marketing thing to make transactions faster, swap your tank for an already filled tank. Just make sure you NEVER swap your new tank, because you might get a scrappy one back... and when it gets too bad of a condition, you'd need to buy a new tank.

TN_GARAGE
01-10-2011, 10:35 AM
Call the RV shops and campgrounds. Often they will fill your tank (doesn't have to be completely empty to get it topped off) for a good price.

RV park we camped at last summer was refilling 20# tanks for about $12.

Regarding OP: I'm with the others. You are buying a tank...not making a deposit. Bright side is you can do the Craigslist thing. I picked up one just for the propane tank, regulator and side burner w/shelf.

scott37300
01-10-2011, 11:40 AM
Place an add on craigslist for 10 bucks a tank or whatever price you think is fair. I'm sure someone will buy them from you. Might not get your whole "core charge" back but will get some of it.

Torino Dan
01-10-2011, 11:55 AM
Yep, I get it now. Have to think of it as you are "buying" the tank. I had always thought of it as a "deposit" or "core". My perception was wrong.

Appreciate all of the input. I'll sell the extras for whatever I can get and move on. Lesson learned!

hetkind
01-10-2011, 12:29 PM
We have a selection of tanks, from 10lb to 40lb size and use them for a wide variety of uses, bbq grill, camp stove, heaters, brushburner, fuel/oxy torch and would gladly accept a good used tank...

Oh, when they go out of date, I have the local propane place recertify and put the tank back in service.

Howard

scooby074
01-10-2011, 12:46 PM
As others have said, not a core charge. The difference in price is to purchase the tank.

Keep them full as backup and do the exchange-a-tank thing when theyre getting close to expiry.

I always try to keep a couple full. Between the BBQ and the trailer i always seem to run out at the wrong time.

kaffine
01-10-2011, 02:28 PM
It is a core charge they are just requiring you to have the core at the time instead of letting you bring the core back later.

The tanks are not new they are the old tanks other people have exchanged and have been cleaned and refilled. They just decided it was easier to not allow you to bring the core back at a later time.