I am not a scientist, so tell me if this makes sense.
There are about 40,000 Scout troops in the B.S.A., they go camping (this is a very conservative average) of six weekends a year.
40k * 6= 240K weekends
I’d guess, conservatively, that two-thirds of these troops own stoves or lanterns that use disposable gas canisters or disposable propane cylinders.
60% of 240K = 144k weekends
The average troop has 20 Scouts. I know that my troop of 30 Scouts would use a minimum of three disposable propane cylinders on an average weekend (we have battery lanterns).
144k *3= 432K disposable propane cylinders.
That’s a lot of very expensive, high-impact, garbage.
The ubiquitous 1 lb propane cylinder cannot be safely refilled, nor legally transported if refilled (see information from Coleman here PDF file). If emptied properly they can be disposed of with household trash, but, if not, they are usually treated as hazardous waste. Coleman also reports that programs accepting cylinders for recycling are few and far between.
Disposing of these cylinders are also a growing problem for parks and wilderness areas.
I think we ought to seriously cut back on using these cylinders as a measure of lessening our overall environmental impact. There are practical, more efficient alternatives to disposable gas canisters and open campfires. We use the Littlbug stove, Solo Stove, and StoveTec wood stoves.
High-efficiency wood stoves are better than open campfires and have considerably less environmental impact than gas stoves. We still use propane and gas stoves in some situations where wood stoves are impractical or impossible to use (during fire bans, or in camping situations where they are not allowed) but we have moved to cooking over wood for at least 2/3rds of our camping trips.
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