California's 'Refuel Your Fun' initiative could ease problems at MRFs

Dive Brief:

  • In March, a disposable cylinder exploded at the materials recovery facility (MRF) in Sunnyvale, starting a fire that destroyed $3,000 worth of cardboard and shutting down the processing plant for three hours. Residents are supposed to take cylinders to hazardous waste collection events.
  • Yet thousands are deposited in trash and recycling bins annually. Last year, workers yanked 5,000 canisters off the sorting lines at the Sunnyvale MRF, says Karen Gissibl, the city's environmental programs manager. The MRF also serves Palo Alto and Mountain View. 
  • Manteca, CA-based Kamps Propane is taking a leadership role with a statewide campaign called Refuel Your Fun, funded with a CalRecycle grant. Kamps devised Little Kampers, refillable one-pound propane gas cylinders that can be bought and traded in through the  company's retail outlets and exchange services.

Dive Insight:

Californians purchase 4 million of the 40 million disposable canisters sold annually nationwide, Waste 360 reported. The state's goal is to make using refillable canisters as convenient as exchanging the 20-pound propane containers.

"We see the marketplace favoring refillables as an intelligent environmental and economic alternative," says Josh Simpson, marketing director at Kamps. "The convenience of disposables will always have a place but volume will be reduced when people know you can save money and stop waste."

The California Product Stewardship Council gave Kamps an achievement award for its initiative.

Filed Under: Landfill Recycling
Top image credit: CP Group