According to Recycling International, the United States produces 3.5 billion aerosol cans every year. Most of these cans are steel or aluminum, which is recyclable. However, only 30 percent of these cans ever make it to the recycling pile.

To make matters worse, due to the volatile propellants used to pressurize their contents, most aerosol cans are considered hazardous waste by the EPA. The product in the aerosol can (i.e., brake cleaning fluids, paints, sealants, cleaning solvents, etc.) could also be hazardous and exhibit properties such as ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity and toxicity.

A single aerosol can seem like an innocent item. What harm could an aerosol can do? How much impact could one more aerosol can have in a landfill site? The problem is, it’s not just one can. Throwing aerosol cans into the trash is bad for the environment. This improper disposal of aerosol is also non-compliant and unsafe.

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Aerosol Cans Contain Flammables

Even when a can seems empty, there is some residual product and propellent remaining, which has the potential to ignite. Unless aerosol cans are completely emptied in a safe manner, they pose a risk for recycling or landfill workers. In fact, you should never dispose of aerosol cans in the trash for this very reason. A prominent recycling company experienced a fire at their facility caused by an aerosol can.

Disposing of hazardous waste is expensive and requires adherence to strict protocols. But what if you could save money by emptying and recycling aerosol cans? The EPA encourages safe disposal of aerosol cans through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). According to the Act, punctured and emptied aerosol cans no longer count as hazardous waste.


Use Aerosolv® to Dispose of Aerosol Cans

Stay compliant and safe with an Aerosolv® aerosol recycling system. Installation is easy on a standard 55-gallon drum. Thread the Aerosolv unit into the 2-inch bung and the filter directly to the ¾-inch bung. Screw the puncturing device into the bung opening. Be sure to use anti-static wires to ground the unit so static electricity doesn’t build up.

To empty aerosol cans, insert can, nozzle end down, into the housing sleeve. Lower the top plate and tighten the lock knob. Push the handle completely down and hold into place. A steel pin punctures the can, allowing propellant and residual liquid product to drain into the 55-gallon drum. Wait at least 20 seconds to ensure all product drains. Now considered "RCRA-empty," the processed aerosol can is ready for recycling.

Purchase an Aerosolv Recycling System Today

Stay compliant and save money by adding an Aerosolv aerosol can recycling system to your business today. Different models are available to match the amount of waste generated – see the Product Comparison Guide to learn more. Contact Aerosolv for a free quote or more information.