Aerosol cans CANNOT be recycled at the County Drop Off Site
Why, you ask? Well, aerosol cans can contain substances, including the product itself and the gaseous propellant (the stuff that makes the product spray out of the can), which can create dangerous conditions when collected in the trash. They’re pressurized, which means they could explode under certain conditions, causing injuries and damage to our equipment. Additionally, the product contained in the can could leak out and mix with other chemicals in the load, causing dangerous chemical reactions.
ReDuce, ReUSE, ReCYCLE
- Consider avoiding the aerosol can when possible! Use sunscreen or bug spray lotion that comes in a bottle without a propellant. Or buy reusable spray bottles for oil instead of oil sprays in aerosol cans.
- If the can contains stuff in it use it up or find someone else that can use it! Your local art, theater, school may be able to use that left over spray paint or cleaners.
- Investigate other recycling opportunities; just remember any cans you recycle should be empty of product and propellant.
While there are no federal regulations that prevent aerosol can waste generated in residential settings from being disposed of in the trash or in a landfill, there are a few things to do to help ensure you are doing so safely:
- Make sure cans are completely empty before throwing them away. You may be able to tell if there’s still product in the can by shaking it and listening for a sloshing noise. Empty the can by spraying it until product stops coming out and the can stops making a hissing noise. You shouldn’t attempt to puncture or disable the can or the nozzle as this could be dangerous as well.
- If you can’t empty the can for any reason or if you’re not sure it’s empty, rather than putting it in the trash, take it to a special collection for hazardous chemicals.
- If the can contained a flammable liquid or one that is normally considered hazardous waste, consider taking it to a special collection for hazardous chemicals, even if you think the can is empty. (Legally, household waste is excluded from the definition of hazardous waste, so there are no regulations requiring you to do this.)