AEROSOL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTS > Facts about Recycling Aerosols

Aerosol products ARE recyclable, just like any other empty steel container! Given the public’s concern about solid waste disposal, the aerosol industry teamed with the steel industry to promote the collection of empty aerosol cans in recycling programs nationwide. Thousands of communities now include aerosol product recycling in both household residential and curbside buy-back and drop-off programs.

Most aerosol cans are made of steel. Post-consumer cans (food, beverage, paint and aerosol products) are in demand because steel furnaces require recycled steel to make new steel. Today’s steel aerosol cans contain an average of 25 percent recycled content.

Aluminum aerosol containers are also recyclable. Check with your local recycling coordinator or aluminum collection site for details in your area. Many recyclers and community recycling officials are simply not aware that the U.S. EPA recommends that all aerosol containers (including pesticide containers) be recycled once they are empty.

Disposing of Aerosol Products Properly
Aerosol products, like all other household and personal care product containers, should be disposed of properly. Recycling is the best way to dispose of an empty household aerosol container. But if your community does not yet accept aerosol containers for recycling, the following guidelines may be useful:
  • Use up the entire product purchased. Since aerosol containers are airtight and the contents will not spoil or evaporate, they can be used and stored over long periods of time.
  • Dispose of the empty container through normal household waste disposal according to label directions, or contact your local solid waste disposal office for instructions for specific products.
  • Never dispose of an aerosol container in roadside dumps or open trash fires.

What You Can Do
You can help by encouraging your community to accept empty aerosol cans along with other metal containers. The Steel Recycling Institute can provide more information about recycling (1-800-876-7274) or visit www.recycle-steel.org.
For a list of recycling centers in your area that accept aerosol cans, please visit www.earth911.org.