How to Recycle Helium Tanks and Proper Disposal

Can You Recycle Helium Tanks? 

Yes! You can, and should, recycle your empty or used helium tank. 

Disposable helium tanks are a great way to fill party balloons used to decorate for a kid’s party or a celebration at home. The trouble is that after the party’s over, you are left with a bulky helium tank and might be unsure of what to do with it or how to dispose of it.

You can tighten the valve at the top and save it for the next party if it isn’t empty yet, but the odds are it’s empty. Those small capacity Balloon Time tanks sold at Walmart or party stores such as Party City are usually 8.9 or 14.9 cu ft. and only last through a party or two. So, if you’re done with the tank and want it gone, take care to dispose of it properly.

A disposable helium tank, along with other tanks, such as propane tanks, empty cylinders, fire extinguishers, oxygen tanks, and aerosol cans, all need careful disposal and do not belong just tossed into your regular curbside trash bins or community dumpsters.

It is likely your curbside recycling program will accept disposable helium tanks, but they must first be emptied for proper disposal. Tanks and aerosol cans are pressurized and need all the pressure released in order to be safely disposed of.

We’ll give you quick and easy-to-follow step-by-step disposal instructions on exactly how to recycle your empty helium tank. Read through this article before you toss the tank in your recycling container, and make sure you are doing your part to keep unnecessary waste out of our landfills and recycling properly!

Step One: Gather necessary supplies.

  • Hammer
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Sharpie permanent marker
  • Protective gear (eyewear, gloves)

Step Two: Empty the helium tank

  • Make sure the tank is completely empty!
  • Open the green valve all the way by turning the valve counterclockwise. Press down on the black nozzle to release any remaining gas. When you stop hearing the hissing sound of gas, it is empty. 
helium tank valve
Open the valve on the tank.
helium tank nozzle
Tilt nozzle down to release the remaining helium from the tank.

Step Three: Remove the nut and nozzle

  • Unscrew the white nut, you may need to use a small wrench to get it started. Remove the nut and the nozzle and discard them in the trash.
removing nozzle of helium tank
Remove the nozzle of the helium tank.
how to remove helium tank nozzle
The nozzle has been removed from the helium tank.

Step Four: Remove relief disc

  • Put on protective gear
  • Using the hammer and a flathead screwdriver, knock out the round metal relief disc in the back. Be careful as the metal may be sharp. Use pliers to remove the round metal disc to avoid cuts on your hand.
helium tank recycling
Removing round metal relief disc.

Step Five: Mark

  • Write “Empty” on the tank with a permanent black or silver marker.
  • Place in the recycling bin (if accepted) or drop off at your local metal recycling center.
Empty Balloon Time helium tank
Write EMPTY with Permanent Marker

The simple steps to discard your empty helium tank are important to make sure your tank can be recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. So party on and enjoy the festivities with helium balloons galore. Just dispose of your party supplies the proper way once the party’s over!

Alternatives To Disposable Helium Tanks

If you are environment conscious and want to reduce landfill waste, you can explore several options. Read on to learn more.

Rent A Tank

If you are having a large event, renting a tank is a great option. These tanks have a much larger capacity than disposable tanks and can fill hundreds of balloons.

Purchase A Refillable Tank

If you often throw parties or host events, purchasing a refillable tank would cut down on the amount of waste created by customers purchasing disposable tanks.

Have Your Balloons Filled At A Party Store

While not the most cost-effective option for people that needs dozens or hundreds of balloons, this is a great option if you just need a small number of balloons one time.


What is Helium?

Helium is a non-toxic, inert gas that is created by the natural decay of radioactive elements. This gas is very much in demand because it has a low boiling point and can be easily liquefied. It is used in many different industries such as manufacturing, electronics, and fermentation processes. If you are unsure of how to get rid of your old helium tanks safely, then this article will provide you with all the information you need about recycling them.

Can You Throw Away Empty Helium Tanks?

Helium tanks are made of metal and most definitely recyclable. You should attempt to recycle your tank if at all possible. Your local waste management may or may not accept empty tanks in their curbside program. You may need to contact metal recycling centers in your area to see if they will accept a helium gas cylinder. If no such recycling center is available, you can dispose helium tanks in your regular trash bin after completing the process above.

Does Party City Take Empty Helium Tanks?

After searching through Party City’s website, we’ve concluded that they do not accept empty helium tanks to recycle for you. You can purchase the helium canisters there to fill your own balloons yourself at home. And they do fill balloons for you, either from their store or even those bought elsewhere if you don’t want to purchase a tank and fill them yourself. 

Where to Recycle Empty Helium Tank?

An empty helium tank can usually be recycled as scrap metal in your curbside recycling bin, once the simple steps above are followed to prep it. However, depending on your location you may need to take it to a local recycling center to drop off. Recycling centers that accept scrap metal should take your empty tank.

Check your city or county’s waste management website or call them to verify if your tank can be collected curbside. If they do not accept the tanks they will be able to direct you to a local facility that does.

Another option would be to contact your city or county Household Hazard Waste collection center to find out if they will accept your helium tank or not.

Can You Refill a Balloon Time Helium Tank?

The Balloon Time helium tanks you purchase from retailers such as Walmart, Party City, or Hobby Lobby are not meant to be refilled. These are one-time use and should be recycled and disposed of once empty.

Scroll to Top