Aerosol cans are big business. The market for aluminum aerosol cans alone is worth more than $3 billion. As you might imagine, that translates into a lot of cans being made, shipped, and sold every year.

You probably have some old aerosol cans kicking around right now. Maybe you bought some spray paint, or you grabbed a can of whipping cream to top sundaes or hot chocolate.

Now that you’re done with them, though, you need to know how to dispose of aerosol cans. This guide is what you’ve been looking for. With it, you’ll learn the proper method for disposing of aerosol cans.

Why You Should Recycle Aerosol Cans

You might decide to toss your empty aerosol cans into the garbage, but you can recycle them. In fact, you should recycle aerosol cans.

Why is aerosol can recycling so important? One reason is that the materials in the cans are important metals. Both aluminum and steel are valuable for other products.

Another reason to recycle aerosol cans is that they can be dangerous when dumped in landfill sites. The propellants in the can make it explosive. If the can is punctured the wrong way, it can explode.

Finally, the propellants in the cans should be released the right way. This happens during the recycling process, which limits the damage aerosol cans do to the environment.

How to Dispose of Aerosol Cans

Recycling aerosol cans is the best way to dispose of them. You need to prepare the cans for recycling the right way though.

First, don’t ever puncture the can yourself. Some people will attempt this to let any remaining product out of the can. This can cause an explosion, though, and you could get hurt.

It’s best to leave the puncturing of the can to the professionals at the recycling facility. They can puncture the can safely, so that no one gets hurt.

Next, you’ll want to be sure to remove all the product in the can. You can do so by pressing down on the nozzle until you hear no more liquid in the can. You can also press the nozzle until nothing more comes out.

This is the best way to ensure the can is empty. Remember, the can needs to be empty before you recycle it. Otherwise, the recycling center won’t accept the can.

Double-Check Local Rules

Another key to disposing of aerosol cans the right way is to make sure you’re sending it to the right facility. In some places, you can put empty aerosol cans in with your regular recycling.

In other areas, though, aerosol cans are household hazardous waste. That means you’ll need to send them to a different facility. Check your area for drop-offs and disposal centers.

Protect Yourself and the Earth

Now you know how to dispose of aerosol cans safely and greenly.

There are plenty of other products that you need to take special care with. Whether it’s batteries or e-waste, check out one of our helpful guides and learn the right way to dispose of almost anything in your home or office.