WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — There were plenty of backyard barbecues over the Memorial Day weekend and propane tanks were used to fire up a lot of those grills.

Paraco in Waterbury has spent years making sure those propane tanks do not end up in our landfills.

“We have been preparing for the barbecue season, really all year, and Memorial Day as you can imagine, people are opening their pools, starting their grills, they have the fire pits that are going. This was one of our busiest seasons that we’ve had in the past four years,” said Paraco Chief Operating Officer Christina Armentano.

Paraco has been in the barbecue exchange business for over 20 years. Folks can buy a propane tank for their grill or their pool, use it, then exchange it for a new one.

Unfortunately, many propane tanks are not exchanged and end up in our landfills, contributing to our carbon footprint.

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Paraco has made it their mission to reduce waste and reuse existing propane tanks. They have invested in a state-of-the-art facility in Waterbury to refurbish these containers.

“Behind me is the beginning of the line. This is where we are doing our initial quality inspection. The operators behind me are removing the sleeve, looking for corrosion, checking for outdated material and valves. Anything that doesn’t meet the standard is rejected for a further look downstream. About 90% of what we pick up can go through the process, 10% needs a deeper look—most of that we can recover and recycle as well,” said Paraco General Manager of Centralized Operations Will Fabrizio.

To speed up the process, Paraco recently invested in a robot called PAT, to help them refurbish over two million propane tanks per year. Those tanks go right back into the barbeque exchange program.

While PAT is picking up the refurbished tanks, other Paraco workers are picking up about 100,000 used tanks from transfer stations across five states.

“If we weren’t here, a lot of these would end up in landfills. We know it’s a pretty big problem that Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts are currently facing,” Fabrizio said.

And you can certainly help keep these tanks out of our landfills by exchanging them, and not using disposable ones. There are several exchange locations all across Connecticut, you can find by clicking here.