5 Mistakes to Avoid When Recycling Aerosol Cans

 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Recycling Aerosol Cans

An aerosol is a pressurized metal container that uses a propellant to disseminate a chemical in the form of liquid or gaseous particles.

These containers are used in a variety of sectors and can be filled with anything from paint to degreaser.

The problem with an inappropriate aerosol can disposal is that there is sometimes liquid and propellant left in the can that cannot be aerosolized when they are thrown away. When substances that remain inside an aerosol seep out when it is tossed away, they might harm the environment.

Paints, solvents, food, and healthcare goods are all stored in aerosol cans. Some even have insecticides in them. Although, if they are empty then they are convenient, many aerosol cans are still harmful because they are pressurized and might contain a hazardous substance. Many facilities are unaware of this, which results in incorrect disposal of aerosol cans with other non-hazardous garbage in municipal landfills.

If one or two aerosol cans with a small quantity of hazardous material end up in a landfill, the results could be terrible, but if millions of cans are incorrectly disposed of, the results could be devastating. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains strict restrictions for the correct disposal of aerosol cans.

Hence, when recycling aerosol cans you should avoid these mistakes;

Leaving the cap on

The majority of aerosol cans have a plastic lid on top of a metal can. Because metal and plastic cannot be recycled together, it becomes essential to remove the plastic cap from the metal can. The majority of these plastic caps (but not all) are constructed of polypropylene, a #5 material. Before putting the cap in your recycling bin, be sure your local recycling center accepts #5 plastics.

If there is a small plastic straw in a spray can that you are using for targeted spraying then, please throw the straw into the trash.

Not making sure that the can is empty

No matter what, any remaining substance in an aerosol can be disposed of through your household hazardous waste programme. Aerosol cans that still have any harmful substance inside are still pressurized, which means that if punctured or crushed, they could explode or combust, causing a risk to a trash compactor or recycling sorter.

Keep waste and recycling employees safe, and if your local waste or recycling programme takes aerosol cans, make sure they're entirely empty. Hold the can next to a rag and spray until nothing else comes out to ensure you've completely emptied it. This is an excellent approach to double-check that it is completely empty.

Trying to depressurize the can yourself

Never try to puncture, crush, or flatten the can by yourself, even if it is empty. If the can is still under pressure, this might be quite dangerous. Due to the potential risk of toxic chemicals or air pollutants, there are government regulatory standards in place for the proper depressurization of cans. A recycling center or a domestic hazardous waste programmer can safely depressurize the can and recycle it appropriately in a variety of ways. Residents would never be required to depressurize a can on their own. 

Attempting to remove the nozzle

You should not remove the nozzle, even though it is plastic and may contain other materials, such as rubber, attached to the spray mechanism. If you were thinking of sorting it with plastic recycling, that wouldn't work because the piece is too small to fit through a recycling sorter.

You're putting yourself at risk if you try to remove the nozzle by yourself because this may lead to can exploding. Removing the nozzle may cause the can to depressurize and it might get explode. Household hazardous waste services are once again able to securely depressurize aerosol cans for proper recycling.

Assuming which bin it goes in

This is the most difficult aspect, but it is also the most important. Because every municipality is different, it's essential to know that where your municipality accepts aerosol cans. However, for any location there is one clear rule: if there is still any material left in the can, you must dispose of it through your home hazardous waste programme.

Your household hazardous waste recycling programme or your municipality’s garbage collection programme may accept your aerosol can if it is empty. You’ll have to look for something don't expect it to go another way. The What Goes Where search tool in the Recycle Coach app on your mobile phone is a good way to find out. Otherwise, to find out where you can safely recycle or dispose of your aerosol cans contact your local home hazardous waste programme. 

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Authored by :

Ankita Devi