Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Do I Dispose of Aerosol Cans?

Aerosol cans contain substances that are kept in a container under pressure and are released as a fine spray when a button is pressed

“Canisters filled with insecticide and propellants were used to protect U.S. servicemen from insects carrying diseases such as malaria. Shortly after the war, Robert Abplanalp, founder of Precision Valve Corporation (PVC), invented the first mass-produced aerosol valve.
The patent was filed in September 1949 and was issued on March 17, 1953. From that invention, the aerosol industry quickly developed in the United States and around the world.”

The propellants contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) until 1987 because they were believed to be a contributor to the depletion of the ozone layer. Other chemicals have been substituted for CFCs, and seem to be just as effective.

Since the contents of aerosol cans are under pressure and will explode if heated or smashed, compacting them inside a trash truck can cause them to burst. If they don’t explode inside the truck, the damage may be delayed and could happen anywhere along the line of the disposal process. For these reasons, aerosol cans are not recyclable under normal recycling processes.

Some recycling processes and programs allow aerosol cans to be recycled if they are, indeed, completely empty. If empty, they may also be thrown away in your regular trash. If there is even a small amount of product in them, aerosol cans should be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste collection site.

For more information on waste and recycling items visit

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