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How to dispose of aerosols safely

Aerosol cans are made up of approximately 60% tinplated steel and 40% aluminium, both of which are recyclable metals. With an estimated 600 million aerosols being used in the UK each year, aerosols are evidently a big opportunity in the recycling world!

Since aerosols contain liquid or gas, which are pressurised with a propellant, they need to be disposed of correctly as their contents are dangerous under certain conditions, such as in heat or in a compact garbage truck, and run the risk of exploding. As such, precautions need to be taken when disposing of aerosol cans. For this reason, many people are unsure of the appropriate ways to dispose of aerosol cans.

Here are a few tips for disposing of aerosols safely:

1. Before throwing your aerosol can straight into the rubbish bin, take the time to ensure that it is completely empty.

If it is completely empty, your aerosol can may go into the normal recycling for cans/tins.

Aerosol cans that are either partially or completely full need to be separated from your other recyclables and general waste as they are considered hazardous waste. Most councils collect aerosols via household collection, otherwise, they can be taken to your local recycling facility and put into the correct banks.

2. Do not modify the aerosol can in any way – e.g. do not pierce, crush or flatten the aerosol, as this may increase the risk of it exploding.

If there are any detachable or loose parts to the aerosol, such as a plastic lid, remove them and dispose of these separately within the appropriate recycling.

If you have any queries regarding the safe disposal of aerosols or have any other general questions regarding waste disposal, contact our specialist team for advice.