Can I recycle my aerosol can?

Aerosol cans are highly recyclable. The main factor concerning these cans, when it comes to recycling, is whether or not they are empty. Aerosol cans are highly pressurized, and if punctured or over heated, they could explode.  If the aerosol can is empty, you can put it in a recycle bin designated for steel or aluminum.

Must an aerosol can be empty to be recycled?

In general, if your can is completely empty, as in, it no longer sprays any of its content out, it is typically okay for recycling.  Even cans that seem empty still contain remnants and should never been punctured by anyone other than a certified recycler.

Does the lid and spray nozzle need to be removed from aerosol cans for recycling?

Because most cans have plastic lids, and can be separated from the steel or aluminum, the lid can be removed from the can before you toss it into the recycling bin. However, do not remove the spray nozzle from the can, as the contents are pressurized and can explode if punctured.

Do the contents of an aerosol can matter for recycling?

As long as the contents of the can are not hazardous and are not labeled as hazardous, it should be okay to recycle the empty cans no matter what was in the container upon disposal. As noted earlier, the true danger lies in the combustibility of the can. Because the contents of aerosol cans are highly pressurized, so that they can be propelled out of the can, they can become volatile and explode if they are punctured or overheated.

Are aerosol cans bad for the environment?

Aerosol cans still carry a bit of a stigma with them in terms of environmental safety. Most people associate aerosol spray with air pollution. However, the US banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the compounds that most commonly linked aerosol can use to ozone layer damage in 1978 (cite: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/fedregstr/58fr69672.html) . Some critics of aerosol cans refer to the potential dangers of hydrocarbons and compressed gases which are linked to climate change, and of VOCs’ contribution to smog. However, those in the aerosol industry note that the cans’ long product shelf-life, minimum spillage and recyclability as positive points in the use of aerosols.

If you have questions on how to properly dispose of your aerosol cans or any other material you think may be potentially hazardous, please contact Papillion Sanitation and don’t forget to visit our news feed for more tips on recycling and proper waste disposal.