Encouraging Recycling of Empty Aerosols

Americans generated about 251 million tons of trash and recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.5 percent recycling rate, according to most recent EPA estimates. About 9% of the waste generated is metal. Aerosol products only make up a small percentage of that, but 3.8 billion aerosol products are produced in the US each year, so there is still a very large opportunity to make a significant impact.

 

Representatives of CAPCO recently participated in the national Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans, LA to engage directly with professionals in the recycling industry, including MRF (Material Recovery Facility) operators, waste haulers, equipment suppliers, and recycling coordinators for local municipalities.

 

CAPCO has been working to increase awareness that aerosol products are recyclable. They are made of steel or aluminum, which are infinitely recyclable and valuable in the waste stream. According to the Steel Recycling Institute’s (SRI) National Recycling Database, there are over 21,000 locations that accept steel cans, but only a third of those actively publicize the acceptance of aerosol cans. Communication is vital to keeping aerosols out of landfills. We are working with partners like SRI to get a consistent message out to both consumers and recycling programs. Aerosols ARE recyclable when empty and this should be communicated by the municipality, the waste hauler, and on the product itself.     In many cases it is, but there is still work to be done. You can help by inquiring with your municipality to see if they’re accepted, and encourage them to include that information clearly on bin/instructions, if so, or encourage them to include them, if not. Please visit www.AerosolProducts.org/recycling for more information.

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