How to Dispose of Aerosol


The contents of aerosol cans vary, from kitchen cooking oil to toxic solvent-based chemicals. The pressure that propels contents from the can causes a dangerous situation when disposed. Disposing of the aerosol can improperly might injure people if it explodes when accidentally compressed -- in the back of a garbage truck or the extreme heat of a fire. Cans that contain toxic substances require special care.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box
  • Set a cardboard box in a well-ventilated area -- preferably outside -- away from people, animals and other damageable items.

  • Read the back of each aerosol can. Set aside each can that contains CFCs or potentially dangerous chemicals.

  • Shake an aerosol can that does not contain CFCs or toxic chemicals. Aim the tip of the can at the cardboard box, with the can 4 to 6 inches from the bottom of the box. Depress the tip to discharge the contents into the cardboard box until the can is empty.

  • Discharge all nontoxic aerosol cans into the cardboard box. Throw empty cans in the trash.

  • Take all remaining full, toxic or CFC-propelled aerosol cans to a hazardous waste collection center to have them disposed of properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the warning label of each aerosol can before spraying its contents in a cardboard box. Reactive chemicals could mix to create toxic fumes.

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