We’re often asked how to recycle aerosol cans, whether it’s safe to throw aerosols in the bin, and so on.

The answer is… it depends. Because of how they are filled, recycling aerosol cans depends on whether or not they are completely empty.

Luckily, Gaskells can help either way, but it’s certainly true to say that an empty aerosol can is much easier to dispose of.

Can I recycle empty aerosol cans?

Yes you can. An aerosol can contains valuable recyclable metals, and is only considered a risk because its contents are held at high pressure.

Once an aerosol can is empty, it is essentially just another can, and you may recycle it along with all your other waste metal.

If the can has a plastic lid, remove this and if it’s a recyclable plastic, make sure it ends up with your other plastic waste.

Should I crush empty aerosols?

No. If the can is still under pressure, it can be dangerous to crush it, pierce it or do anything else that weakens its structure.

Even if you think a can is completely empty – and so is not under high pressure anymore – it’s better to keep on the side of caution and just dispose of it whole.

For this reason, you should also not dispose of aerosol cans in recycling bins that have their contents crushed, for example if you use any on-site waste compaction equipment.

What about half-full cans?

An aerosol can that has been partially discharged is still a potential hazard, as the remaining contents will still be under higher pressure than the general atmosphere.

Unless you are certain that an aerosol has been completely emptied, you should treat it as a safety risk – that means don’t crush it, don’t heat it, and don’t put it into mixed recycling where it might get hidden under other items.

This is important for the safety of yourself, your employees and any customers or members of the public who might have access to your bins.

It’s also important for the safety of Gaskells’ employees when we come to empty your bins, so please be aware of part-filled or completely full aerosols and dispose of them separately as required.

Removing full aerosol cans

Gaskells’ Hazardous Waste Disposal service can remove full and part-full aerosol cans from your premises, so you don’t have to put them in your recyclable waste bins.

Fill in our online enquiry form or call 0345 305 2611 and we’ll be happy to discuss hazardous waste removal of aerosols and other restricted substances like asbestos, paint and solvents.