Nov 07

Earth-Friendly Invention

Bernzomatic propane recycling vehicle: What is this curious-looking contraption, and what’s it doing in Yellowstone National Park?

We’ll give you a hint… it recycles an item that is used—and most often discarded—by millions of campers nationwide.

Yellowstone Forever recently partnered with Bernzomatic—maker of handheld torches and fuel cylinders—and Yellowstone National Park to dedicate a new propane-cylinder reclaim machine. At an event at Old Faithful on June 4, 2016, this state-of-the-art machine was unveiled and demonstrated how it recycles non-refillable fuel cylinders left behind by park guests.

20160604_ludin_1354While an older fuel-cylinder recycling machine existed in Yellowstone, Bernzomatic invested significant resources to create a first-of-its-kind design with enhanced safety features. The new vehicle now removes residual propane from the fuel cylinders to power its own operation, and if there is enough left, will store fuel for use in park equipment, before crushing the steel for safe recycling. And since it works over 20 times faster than its predecessor, it will be better able to keep up with the large number of cylinders being used and collected from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the surrounding area.

79848_cylinder_recycling_graphic_copy_v3In addition to the rollout of the new machine, this sustainability initiative involves ongoing communication to park visitors. Yellowstone and Bernzomatic are renovating the park’s propane cylinder recycling collection bins to make them more easily identifiable, and to update signage to clearly communicate the type of cylinders that are acceptable. The organizations are also sharing program information on their websites and social channels, and in park lodges, visitor centers and general stores.

The mobile machine will travel between Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks to crush canisters, which will avoid the annual transport of large quantities of hazardous, pressurized materials.

For information on how to dispose your cylinders closer to home, go to