Educate Yourself About the Proper Ways of Disposing Aerosol Cans

As they often say, "hazardous waste management begins at home." Think about the things we use on a regular basis: oven cleaners, pesticides, bleach. All of them require special disposal methods. Aerosol cans, similarly, contain items for daily use as well—mousse, shaving creams, perfumes. and others.

It is inappropriate to dispose these containers arbitrarily to landfills after use. These containers are packed under pressure of gaseous propellants that force the main product out of the container once the nozzle is pressed. The presence of the propellant might as well lead the can to explode when the can comes in contact with heat. As such, it is very important to acquaint yourself with the proper ways of aerosol recycling.

Aerosol Cans: When Are They Collected?
Most municipalities and councils collect these cans as part of their household collection scheme. Check out whether yours offers such services or not. If not, then make sure that you are carrying them to nearby recycling centers. However, you cannot pierce or puncture them on your own.

You need to ensure that the cans are completely empty before relegating them to landfills. Aerosols can be stored for a very long period of time. You are not required to throw them away if you have not used them up completely. You can dispose the cans to the curbside pick-up or by paying a visit to local drop-off centers.

The recyclability of aerosol cans depends on the material. Most of these cans are made of steel or aluminum, both of which are recyclable. The lid, valve, and the tube generally are made of plastic. You can remove them before submitting them for recycling.

Aerosol Recycling Steps
You can easily make sure that the products of spray cans are totally drained out before they are recycled. Follow these steps:

  • Keep the cans to be emptied aside.
  • Spread some newspapers on the floor.
  • Keep on spraying the cans on these newspapers.
  • As long as the product and propellant are inside the can, it will continue making a hissing noise.
  • Once the noise ceases, you can be rest assured that the cans are totally empty. However, if you are still not sure, then you can take the can to a licensed puncturer.

You are advised against puncturing, rinsing, or draining cans on your own before recycling them. This remains a dangerous proposition since the cans are still under pressure. You might as well end up injuring yourself while puncturing these cans. As a result, it becomes imperative on your end to ensure that you are taking these containers to a professional puncturer. Recycling aerosol containers is important because of safety. Because they contain highly combustible propellants that might well result in an explosion when exposed to heat, they can hurt landfill workers.

Companies or industries disposing used aerosol cans are required to educate their employees about ways to minimize the use of aerosol containers. One of the potent ways to do the same would be to buy only that amount of consumer product which is needed. It is also important to consult the manufacturer's label and safety data sheets in order to take the right steps in this regard. Several businesses have chosen to replace aerosol cans with refillable pumps and spray bottles, in the face of the stringent regulations governing aerosol disposal. Different states have adopted different regulations, so it is always important to get in touch with the regulators in your state before getting rid of the used cans. According to EPA (40 CFR 261.7), a can would be considered empty if:

  • The product is emptied employing the usual practices.
  • The container has less than 1 inch of residue at the bottom or the product resting in the container must be less than 3 percent by weight of the total weight of the container.

Jacks Edison has been a Quality Engineer with Eko Environmental for the past three years. Eko Environmental, a division of MacLean Engineering located in Ontario, Canada, offers a wide range of turnkey aerosol recycling solutions that are designed to meet the urgent demands of environment sustainability. Visit for more information.

Posted by Jacks Edison on Mar 11, 2015