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New Green Key Tool Is First Step in Making Empties Recyclable

Coleman single-use propane cylinder
Coleman single-use propane cylinder

WICHITA, Kan. (May, 2008) - Rolling off the production line this spring is the patent-pending Coleman® Green Key® tool, the first step in making empty single-use propane cylinders recyclable. With the introduction of this simple, industry-changing device, The Coleman Company, Inc. enables U.S. consumers to be sure their propane cylinders are completely empty before they are discarded along with regular household trash or recycled when and where recycling programs become available.

The ubiquitous green cylinders are familiar to campers all over the United States and just about anyone else who has used a portable, propane-powered cooking, heating or lighting device outside. However, unlike their large bulk tank cousins, these small single-use cylinders are not refillable (due to federal law prohibiting transportation of this type of cylinder if refilled), leaving some people uncertain about proper disposal or wishing the cylinders could be recycled.

The accepted practice for ensuring that a cylinder is empty has always been to use it on a stove, lantern or other propane-powered device until the propane runs out, at which time the appliance will stop working. However, after that, to be certain that there is no propane left in the cylinder, individuals now can go a step further by inserting the Green Key tool into the top of the cylinder, where it will remain permanently lodged. After two minutes, they can then discard or recycle the steel cylinder, confident in knowing that the presence of the bright green device indicates the cylinder is open and empty.

"By educating consumers and the recycling industry, we want to make the Green Key tool an easily recognized symbol that a propane cylinder is open, has no propane left in it and, therefore, is potentially as easy to recycle as an ordinary steel can," said Darrell Neugebauer, Coleman's director of burning appliances and fuels.

Expanding Recycling Programs for More Waste Diversion

Along with introducing the Green Key tool to consumers, Coleman is inviting communities in the United States and Canada to integrate empty single-use propane cylinders into curbside and drop-off programs as part of steel can recycling. Coleman is providing technical information to waste haulers and recycling facilities on how to divert these empty cylinders from landfill to recycling.

"Coleman and other manufacturers combined produce millions of single-use propane cylinders annually, creating a tremendous opportunity for a new source of recycled steel," Neugebauer said. "We want propane cylinder recycling eventually to become as routine as steel can recycling. That's why Coleman is leading the way to help make these cylinders recyclable, but we need community and individual help to make it happen.

"In the meantime, the new Green Key tool means that consumers can dispose of the cylinders with the certainty that they are open and completely empty," Neugebauer said. "Consumers also may be interested to know that Coleman's propane cylinders - like many other steel products on the market today - are made with an average minimum of 25 percent recycled content."

Beginning in May 2008, the Green Key tool will be packaged inside the cap of most Coleman-branded propane cylinders and will be available at REI, Dick's Sporting Goods and other select sporting goods retailers nationwide. Cylinders with the Green Key tool included will be clearly marked, so consumers will know which propane cylinders come with the tool.

The Green Key tools will also be sold separately - in packages of six - and can be purchased at select retailers and at These can be used with any existing Coleman propane cylinder.

For more information, see the separate Green Key Tool Q&A Fact Sheet..

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