Who makes recyclable fuel canisters?
I really like canister stoves but concerned about the throwaway nature of the fuel containers. Other than the Coleman Xtreme stove, most seem to use canisters that are non-recyclable, including all the new ultralight stoves. Is any manufacturer currently working on the recycling issue? Jeff Shoreview, Minnesota
Nobody seems to be rigorously pursuing recyclable fuel canisters, most probably because consumers have never stood up and demanded it. Coleman deserves some credit for doing so, but while the X-type stoves are excellent products and have sold reasonably well, they haven’t taken the market by storm.
Obviously, one way around this is simply to go for liquid-fuel stoves. They’re reliable, generally easy to use, and very hot. The classic, of course, is the MSR WhisperLite ($60; www.msrcorp.com), but there are others. However, while I use liquid-fuel stoves quite a bit, I also like the convenience and the usability of canister-fuel stoves. They offer the added advantage of being extremely light, particularly for short trips. A Snow Peak GigaPower stove ($40; www.snowpeak.com) and fuel canister, sufficient for several meals, weighs a mere ten ounces.
So what to do? Well, at the risk of sounding extremely non-eco-friendly, my advice is this: Don’t worry about it. I’d wager you’re doing a lot more harm to the environment burning fossil fuel to reach a trailhead than you are throwing out maybe 100 empty fuel canisters. Short of that, of course, Coleman is at least leading the charge with its recyclable Powermax fuel cartridge ($73 with the Xtreme stove; www.coleman.com).