Dispose of an empty helium bottle properly

There is little effort involved in disposing of a helium bottle. The properties of the gas do not create any particular risk, as is the case with many other gases. Disposable bottles can be disposed of in the normal recycling waste with the yellow dot. The tightness of returnable bottles should be checked regularly.

Single bottles are not dangerous goods

In general, helium can be described as one of the "most harmless" gases that are bottled and used for various purposes:

  • Also read - Dispose of gas bottles safely and in accordance with the rules
  • Also Read - Refill a Purchased Helium Bottle
  • Also read - Permanently return an empty gas cylinder
  • Balloon gas
  • Shielding gas with some welding methods
  • Admixture for deep-sea diving bottles

In most cases, helium is used as a balloon gas. In terms of its dangerousness, it can be compared with normal breathing air that is compressed and filled. The following properties are classified in the safety data sheet, according to which every manufacturer and dealer in the EU must comply:

  • No classification as a hazardous substance
  • Compressed gas that can explode if heated
  • Can have a suffocating effect in high concentrations
  • Should be kept in a ventilated place
  • No safety instructions for disposal
  • Maximum permissible filling pressure 300 bar

As a separate note for disposal, it is only stated that emptying should take place in a well-ventilated place. Discharge in closed rooms and surroundings must be avoided because of the possible increase in concentration.

Expiration and shelf life

When a returnable bottle is borrowed, disposal by returning the bottle is usually part of the contract. In addition to the bottle, filling valves and outer packaging are also on loan. If one is filled or topped up, the service contract runs until the gas cylinder is finally returned.

There is no expiration date or shelf life limitation for helium bottles. For branded products, the CE seal of approval and the pressure level of the gas should be on the cylinder body. Contrary to the statements of some, not serious, dealers, the pressure has nothing to do with the yield of the helium bottle.

General disposal information

If the helium bottle is disposed of in the recyclable waste in the yellow bin or the yellow sack, general rules of conduct should be observed:

  • Empty the bottle beforehand
  • Stow the bottle in the sack so that it does not tear
  • In midsummer avoid garbage facilities with strong sunlight if the bottle has not been emptied
  • Cover valves and fittings with adhesive tape to avoid cracks in the garbage bag
  • Dispose of unused bottles out of the reach of children and small animals
  • Transport unused bottles as separately as possible from the driver's cab of a vehicle

Since large numbers of compressed air cylinders pose a "natural" risk, regulations come into force when transporting and disposing of larger quantities that are irrelevant for normal household quantities. From three helium bottles, information should be obtained as to whether dangerous goods regulations apply.

Tips & Tricks The popular and widespread "party gag" of inhaling helium in order to create a high-pitched voice lures helium out of its only risky property. An "overdose" reduces the oxygen supply to the lungs and has a suffocating effect. Since the human body does not signal an overdose, this "fun" is an unnecessary health game that you should refrain from.