How to Properly Separate Aerosol Spray Can Waste into Separate Waste Drums

Aerosols are widely used throughout the United States to dispense a wide variety of products, including paints, cosmetics, cleaning products, lubricants, pesticides, and herbicides. According to the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA), in the year 2020 alone, 3.752 billion aerosol cans were produced. This impressive number brings up an important consideration; how do we dispose of aerosol cans in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner?

For many businesses, this is a pressing question. Thanks to aerosol can puncturing devices such as the Aerosolv® Aerosol Recycling System, businesses are able to safely and efficiently empty aerosol containers. Aerosol disposal systems like Aerosolv empty a can to the standards set by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). After use, the can is prepared to be safely recycled.

While this very effectively prepares the aerosol can for disposal, it leaves one piece of the puzzle unaccounted for: What should be done with the waste from within the aerosol can that has now collected in the waste drum? Due to the wide variety of active ingredients and propellants used in aerosol cans, it is imperative to use caution when mixing aerosol can waste in the same collection drum. We have provided guidelines below on the proper disposal and separation of aerosol can waste.

Why Does Aerosol Can Waste Need to Be Segregated? 

Aerosols contain a wide variety of active ingredients and propellants, many of which are incompatible when mixed. The mixing of incompatible chemicals can lead to corrosion of the waste drum, heat, pressure, fire, toxic fumes, as well as flammable fumes and gases. Mixing incompatible chemicals in your waste drums is extremely dangerous and can lead to the destruction of property as well as injury or death.

Which Liquids Should be Segregated When Handling Aerosol Can Waste? 

We have created an aerosol can waste segregation scheme below to provide users with a reference as they create their own segregation scheme for their workplace. You can use the information below to separate your aerosol waste into separate drums and improve the safety and efficiency of the disposal process. It is important to note that the scheme below is intended to serve as a guide only and is not comprehensive. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that the chemicals and materials mixing within their waste drums are compatible and safe.

Aerosol Waste Consolidation Scheme 

Segregated Waste Drum’s Contents Included Aerosol Types Common Examples
Petroleum, Oil,and Lubricants Hydrocarbon products with flammable and non-flammable propellants OMC® Anticorrosion Spray Sprayon® Gear Lube Panef® Lubricant with Teflon® Zep® Cutting Oil Solid Film Lubricant Penetrating Fluid
Paints Compatible paints Krylon® Pittsburgh®
Adhesives Compatible adhesives Super 7® Adhesive Spray®
Compatible Alkaline Cleaners Corrosive products with flammable and non-flammable propellants Oven Cleaner Degreaser
Compatible Acidic Cleaners Corrosive products with flammable and non-flammable propellants Oven Cleaner Degreaser
Halocarbon Solvents Halocarbon products with flammable and non-flammable propellants Freon 114 Degreaser Dichlorotetrafluoroethane Freon 113 Berryman® Brake Cleaner
Ignitable Solvents Ignitable solvent with flammable propellants Prestone® Starting Fluid Keen Limited® Zeus® Butane, Malter® Dimethylsilicone Lubricant Compound Liquid Wrench® WD-407
Listed Products Listed products with flammable and non-flammable propellants Block Cleaner Hi-Tech Safety Solvent® Sprayon® 1,1,1- trichloroethane Bulk Chemical®
Toxic Products Toxic products with flammable and non-flammable propellants Enforcer® Wasp and Hornet Killer D-trans Allethrin PT 270 Dursban® PT 515 Wasp Freeze® PT-240 Perma Dust® PT-279 Engage7
Non-Toxic Products Non-toxic products with flammable and non-flammable propellants Lemon Pledge® Glade® Air Freshener Pam® Coating

The Benefits of Segregating Aerosol Can Waste

Using a system like the Aerosolv Aerosol Recycling System to segregate aerosol waste is not just safer and more environmentally friendly; it’s cost-effective too. Disposal costs of hazardous materials can be expensive. By separating the waste into compatible drums, you can minimize the amount of waste that is considered hazardous and reduce disposal costs.

This guide is intended to serve only as a reference to the reader. It is not a substitute for comprehensive knowledge of the safety procedures and regulations surrounding your specific materials, aerosol cans, industry, and location. We assume no liability for the use or misuse of this information.