California Assembly approves Wieckowski bill to phase out 1-pound, single-use propane cylinders

August 15, 2022

SACRAMENTO — The state Assembly today approved a bill by State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to transition California away from wasteful single-use, 1-pound propane cylinders to refillables by 2028. The bill is expected to pass the Senate on a concurrence vote and go to the Governor for his signature.

“These 1-pound propane cylinders are often among the litter found in our parks and beaches, highly expensive for local governments to properly handle and dangerous for workers in our hazardous waste programs,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee. “Putting in a five-year transition period gives the industry plenty of time to create a safe, refillable product, like it has with larger-sized cylinders.  It is the environmentally responsible approach to take and will take a big burden off of our local governments.”

The single-use propane cylinders are often used in cooking stoves and lanterns. It is estimated that more than 4 million are sold annually in California. However, only a million are recycled through the Household Hazardous Waste programs offered by local governments in the state, according to the California Product Stewardship Council. They pose multiple problems and safety concerns to local government hazardous waste and recycling operations. An analysis found that local governments are spending upwards of $3 million per year to handle this expensive waste stream.

“The fact that SB 1256 cleared yet another hurdle on its way to becoming law in California just emphasizes the Legislature’s understanding of the need to replace the wasteful non-environmental single-use 1-pound cylinders with the sustainable alternative offered through the refillable/reusable ones,” says Doug Kobold, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council. “As the proud sponsors of SB 1256, we commend Senator Wieckowski and his staff for the wonderful job they have done informing others in the Legislature and the public at large about why this change is necessary.  Without their dedication, the requirement to transition from single-use cylinders to reusables in the next five years here in California would not be possible.”

It is difficult to tell if a propane cylinder is empty and those that are not, should be taken to household hazardous waste facilities. But the facilities are often not easily accessible and most of the cylinders end up in the trash. If a cylinder is taken to a Material Recovery Facility, it must be punctured with special equipment to make sure it is empty and safe for processing.

Yosemite’s sustainability initiative includes reducing the improper disposal of the single-use cylinders. The only cylinders available to purchase inside the park are refillable.

In addition to the bill’s sponsor CPSC, SB 1256 is supported by Santa Clara County, Stop Waste, Sunnyvale, Thousand Oaks, California Waste and Recycle Association, Rethink Waste, Californians Against Waste, Western Placer Waste Management Authority, Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority, Republic Services, California Resource Recovery Association, Resource Recovery Coalition of California and the National Stewardship Action Council, among many others.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District, which includes southern Alameda County and parts of Santa Clara County.