Vocational or trade schools strive to produce graduates with a comprehensive education. They provide innovative learning opportunities that reflect current and future work practices. Vocational programs are career focused, with courses designed to prepare graduates for the workforce. Students obtain most degrees in two years or less.

Degree programs cover career development for a wide range of specialty trades, including auto and aviation mechanics, welding, machining and many more. Trade school courses demand hands-on training. The students must become skilled using the products required in their trade. This includes paints, lubricants, coatings and sealants, to name a few. Class workshops often go through large volumes of aerosol products during their courses.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) rules instruct businesses, including vocational schools, on how to manage hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Because many aerosol cans contain hazardous materials, including the propellant used to spray the product, they must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

This expense may represent a financial burden for many trade schools. But, the RCRA regulations also provide a back-door method for excluding aerosol cans from the hazardous solid waste category. Cans that meet the criteria specified in guideline 40 CFR 261.1(c)(6) may be treated as normal waste or, even better, recycled.

Here are five reasons why trade schools should add aerosol recycling to their management practices:

1. Aerosol can recycling helps comply with federal hazardous waste regulations

The EPA recently fined the University of Missouri $33,000 for hazardous waste violations. According to College Planning and Management, a lack of awareness in universities and colleges make them vulnerable to violations and fines. Every dollar spent on fines is a dollar taken away from other college priorities. Staying compliant allows vocational programs to spend more money on the things that really count – such as advancing their students’ careers.

2. Recycling aerosols helps reduce operating costs

Hazardous waste disposal is expensive. It can’t be dumped in an ordinary landfill site. Disposal companies charge based on volume of waste. The more hazardous waste you generate, collect and dispose of, the higher your operating costs. Recycling empty aerosol cans helps reduce the total volume of hazardous waste. Only the small quantity of product residue and propellant left in each can will need to be processed.

This is a massive saving compared to recycling the whole empty can.

3. Aerosol can recycling helps implement sustainable practices

The article in College, Planning and Management mentioned above describes hazardous waste management as a neglected aspect of sustainability. Recycling steel aerosol cans means less mining of iron ore. Recycled steel also uses less energy to process because there is no need to extract the metal from ore. This results in a smaller carbon footprint.

4. Recycling aerosols helps produce environmentally-conscious graduates

Producing graduates that go on to successful careers is the desire of every vocational school. But, schools also hope their graduates will be responsible citizens of the world. Implementing sustainable practices as an educational institution could instill in students the principles of caring for the environment.

5. Recycling aerosol cans helps generate additional revenue

Although the actual mass of recycled steel from aerosol cans is not large, it is still valuable. As part of a recycling program, it adds another stream of revenue to the school – albeit a small one. Scrap metal prices vary but tend to be very low for steel and aluminum, which compose most aerosol cans.

What is an Aerosol Recycling System?

Aerosolv® aerosol can recycling systems are a cost-effective solution for aerosol can disposal. The system fits onto a standard 55-gallon drum. The equipment punctures spent aerosol cans causing the product residue to fall into the drum. A carbon filter supplied as part of the system removes any harmful substances from the propellant and vapors.

The punctured aerosol cans qualify for recycling, while the liquid residue slowly accumulates in the drum. Dispose of the drum as hazardous waste when it is full.

Not sure what Aerosolv Aerosol Recycling System is right for your trade school? Check out our handy Comparison Guide.

Order Your Aerosolv Aerosol Recycling System Today

Implement an Aerosolv aerosol can recycling system into your vocational program today. The system is easy to use and offers immediate benefits for sustainability, reducing costs and avoiding fines. Learn more about how Aerosolv systems work.