"Sterno" Fuel Cannisters
Sternos are mostly found at catered events and are generated by
University Dining Services. Sternos are the small burners placed under
chafing dishes and used to heat food at a buffet or warming table.
"Sterno" has become the familiar name for the flammable gel inside the
small metal can used under most chafing dishes. An alcohol is
added to get this saturated form of calcium acetate, a semi-solid, and
a flammable gel forms that is much like "canned heat" products such as
a "Sterno". Sternos can be hot when extinguishing.
If you put
the lids on to extinguish the flames, they can also pop violently.
Sternos are a fire hazard.
Disposal at UVM
Sternos are collected at each food service kitchen.
Sternos are separated and collected by food service staff and
stored in clearly marked 15-gallon containers or 5-gallon containers in
the kitchens or in their restricted loading dock areas. Sterno must not
be stored outside. The storage containers must be
clearly labeled because this waste is regulated by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) due to its flammability.
Sternos get collected by Environmental Safety staff, are
consolidated and crushed into 55-gallon drums. They
are then sent to an out-of-state end disposal
facility for incineration.
[Return to Recycling
& Waste Disposal Guide]