How to dispose of spray paint can

For those of us who spray aerosol hairspray or shaving cream into our hair on a regular basis, we all know that the cans require special attention.

But chances are, very few of us actually ever recycle them for our protection, for an animal shelter, and for a planet in need of good spraying.

dispose spray paint can

Today I will teach you the complete process to dispose of spray paint cans. Amateurs often throw them anywhere to find easy, but this is not the correct way to dispose of spray cans. Here is the complete process to dispose of the spray paint cans.

Cans of spray paint are considered hazardous materials, which is why you can’t just throw them in the garbage.

They aren’t hazardous if they’re empty, so you can trash them in the same way you would any other recyclable waste; but cans with even a small amount of paint left unused could create a big mess for you.

And for your community, once it gets mixed up with the rest of your recyclables. Take them to a place like your local hardware store or recycling center that has special equipment to safely dispose of them.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting yourself and others from potentially harmful products!

Aerosol cans are pretty cool if you ask me. Unfortunately, they’re also mainly made out of the same stuff that makes plastic soft.

So, when these cans get really old and start to get dented up quite a bit because you dropped your time capsule with that letter you wrote to yourself in elementary school inside it on the sidewalk.

And it was run over by a few hundred cars between then and now, well…the air which once held all those volatile propellants starts to leak out into the atmosphere.

There are so many broken cans out there just chock-full o’ environmentally unfriendly chemicals like paint thinner or adhesives or brake cleaning chemicals.

Risk of fundamentals

It’s a common misconception that when cans seem empty, there just isn’t any more product left in the can.

Though this is true for almost all products that come in aerosol cans and spray bottles, it’s never 100% accurate.

In fact, these cans often have remaining propellent and are therefore still completely full of potential fire-starters!

If a can hasn’t been emptied in a safe manner, it should never be discarded into the trash. Otherwise, you risk setting off a blaze at your recycling facility or local landfill (like one recycling company tragically experienced).

The process to dispose of spray cans

Aerosol cans are recyclable but rinsing or flushing them down the drain is not allowed. That’s why it’s safer and cleaner to use an Underwriters Laboratories certified aerosol recycling system.

Aerovent® Aerosol Recycling System just attaches to any barrel and filters in seconds. It comes with a puncture tool that ensures complete aerosol capture.

So your entire process is gaseous when sealed and safe for locking up the drums and shipping them off using reputable collection services.

method to dispose spray cans

You can dispose of empty aerosol cans by using the steps listed above. Please note that in order to be considered “RCRA-emptied”.

The processed aerosol cans must be completely drained and no product residue should remain inside the container for recycling purposes.

Steps to dispose of spray paint cans

Here are the steps which can be followed to dispose of spray cans completely, follow each step to do the process. Especially newbies should follow every step in order to save themselves from any mess.

Step 1

Prepare your work area by laying down several sheets of newspaper on the ground. Then completely cover the area you will be working in.

Step 2

Open the cap of the paint can. If no paint comes out, and there aren’t fumes, then you’re down to the bottom of the barrel and your project needs a new coat – which smells nice but is maybe just a little old.

Otherwise, go ahead and spray away until there are no more fumes…

Step 3

Shake the can of paint before you start painting if you don’t know how much is left. If nothing comes out, then it probably means that the can is completely run out of paint.

But if you’re not certain, assume the paint is still in there and then buy a new one!

Step 4

It’s best to dispose of all empty cans in the regular trash.


The most commonly used method to dispose of aerosol cans is to puncture it a few times and then throw it in the trash as it is a non-recyclable material. The process of puncturing the can to let out the gas is called de-filling. The gas will come out from the holes made by you. If the can has pressurized gas, you can puncture the can in water to release the gas by keeping the can in water and shredding it round and round. Then the can will completely sink down to the bottom of the water. After that you can safely throw it in the trash.

There are two basic methods of disposing of liquid hairspray. The first is to take the can outside and spray it into a garbage can until the can is empty. The second is to use a product like Goo Gone to clean the mess up.

The cans are made of aluminum and plastic. These two materials are not as inert as once thought and can release dioxins into the air when the aerosols are burned. Though the levels of dioxins in the air are low, some people are worried that repeated exposures can add up. In addition, the gases in the cans are potent greenhouse gases. However, aerosol cans are not the most environmentally damaging products available.

If you are out of town or in an area where there is no pickup for aerosol cans, you can dispose of them by taking them to a recycling center. Keep in mind, though, that aerosol cans are made of aluminum and pressure cans, so they have to be taken to a recycling center that deals with them. However, since aerosols aren’t accepted in your local recycling center, you need to find dedicated companies that can handle their disposal. One of the most popular ones is Air Care Systems. They provide services for recycling aerosol cans, and have a recycling program that can handle many types of cans, including aerosol whipped cream cans. If you want to dispose of aerosol cans, then you will have to consult them to see if they can help you. If they can, then call them up and tell them where you are. They will dispatch someone to pick up the cans and recycle them.

Aerosol cans are not illegal in the United States.  However, their use are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.  The point of these regulations are to make sure that the contents of the cans do not contain any harmful ingredients.  Most aerosol products have propellants in them that help you spray the product.  These are not necessarily harmful, but still have to meet the standards of the EPA.  If a product has something in it that is not regulated by the EPA, the manufacturer is liable for any harm that it causes the consumer.  In addition to the contents, the containers are also subject to the regulations.  In order to be sold in the US, a container has to be childproof, and it has to show a number called the Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS in the event that something goes wrong.  This is basically a quick rundown on what is in the product, and how to deal with a spill if it occurs.  Aerosol cans are not illegal, but they are subject to a lot of regulations, and the manufacturer is liable for any harm that they cause.


Here is the complete post for you guys to completely dispose of spray paint cans without harming your own self or others. This guide will be helpful for newbies especially when they get confused thinking about disposing of spray cans.

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