Eco News: Jetboil(R) Introduces Tool to Recycle Gas Canisters

Oct 25, 2010 6:00 PM ET

REI's Blog

Posted on 10/25/2010 by Kevin Hagen, REI Director CSR Program

Three cheers for product innovation that solves environmental challenges. 

In 2004, Jetboil® successfully entered the backpacking stove field with their innovative, efficient, lightweight cooking system. Now, working with REI, they have introduced CrunchIt™, a solution to the biggest challenge of disposable canister stoves.

The challenge? How to responsibly dispose of empty butane gas canisters. Butane canister stoves have some great advantages, but users aren't sure how to recycle the empty canisters. Many people choose to take the empty canisters to a household hazardous waste disposal site, but that’s a lot of extra trouble to “do the right thing.”

At REI we’ve seen and heard about this challenge. We even pilot-tested our own recycling program but found out first hand that problems of code compliance and safety regulations are difficult and expensive to overcome.  We talked about the challenge with Jetboil, and they went to work. A string of innovative ideas emerged, the idea kept improving, and the result is now on the shelf at your local REI store and available through

CrunchIt is a clever little tool that threads onto an empty butane gas canister to dissipate any remaining fuel and then, with an easy lever action, punctures the canister in several places.  Once punctured and empty, it is easy to identify as safe to recycle in most local metal recycling programs. (You may want to check with your local recycler to ensure it will be recycled.)

The elegance is in the simplicity.  The CrunchIt is designed for use on standard EN417 butane fuel canisters, meaning that Jetboil solved the problem for the whole industry. Check this video from Jetboil to see it in action.

During the month of October, the CrunchIt tool is available only at REI as part of a new $99.95 Jetboil stove package. The package will go into general distribution in November, and the CrunchIt™ tool will be sold separately for $5.95 starting next year. 

This is a great case study in how product designers and developers can think about solutions in a new way.  It’s great to see companies working together to solve environmental problems that make a lasting difference.