The Download on Aerosol Products
Aerosol products are found throughout the retail environment, from the household cleaning aisle to personal care, hardware and the grocery section. This unique packaging form allows products to be dispensed in foams and fine sprays and allows manufacturers to create innovative products and packaging. Clearly there are many benefits to this packaging form, but there is also much confusion.
Aerosol Product Recycling
Aerosol products ARE recyclable, just like any other empty steel or aluminum container. Given the public’s concern about solid waste disposal, the aerosol industry teamed with the steel industry to promote the collection of empty aerosol cans in recycling programs nationwide. Thousands of communities now include aerosol product recycling in both household residential and curbside buy-back and drop-off programs.
Aerosol product containers are made either from steel (about 75%) or aluminum (about 25%). Post-consumer metal cans (food, beverage, paint and aerosol products) are in demand because they are made of steel or aluminum, both of which are valuable and can be recycled infinitely without the metal breaking-down or compromising the quality. In fact, today’s steel aerosol cans contain an average of 35 percent recycled content.
Check with your local recycling coordinator, local municipality or aluminum collection site for details in your area. Many recyclers and community recycling officials are simply not aware that the U.S. EPA recommends that all aerosol containers (including pesticide containers) be recycled once they are empty.
Aerosol products, like all other household and personal care product containers, should be disposed of properly. Recycling is the best way to dispose of an empty household aerosol container. But if your community does not yet accept aerosol containers for recycling, the following guidelines may be useful:
- Use all the entire product purchased. Since aerosol containers are airtight and the contents will not spoil or evaporate, they can be used and stored over long periods of time.
- Dispose of the empty container through normal household waste disposal according to label directions, or contact your local solid waste disposal office for instructions for specific products.
- Never dispose of an aerosol container in roadside dumps or open trash fires.
Aerosol Products and the Environment
As awareness of our environment grows, many people have questions about the products and packages they buy, including aerosol products. To protect the environment for ourselves and our children, we need to know the facts, so we can be informed and responsible citizens, educators and consumers.
Aerosol Products do not contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Many people are surprised to learn that aerosol products do not harm the earth’s ozone layer, and help reduce waste through their long product shelf life and minimum spillage. Aerosol products provide important safety benefits by being tamper-resistant and tamper-evident. They require no mixing and are completely recyclable.
Benefits of the Aerosol Product Form
One of the earliest aerosol product benefits came in World War II when the American military needed a way to protect soldiers from disease carrying mosquitoes. The solution to that problem was development of aerosol technology to deliver insect repellant from a spray can. Since then aerosol products have become a significant part of modern life; making life easier and protecting our health.
Other Benefits Aerosol Products Provide:
Aerosol cans are hermetically sealed, so their contents cannot leak or spill. And aerosol containers are tamper-resistant and tamper- evident.
Aerosol containers are designed to deliver the right amount of product exactly where it’s needed. Using an aerosol package reduces waste and spillage.
Aerosol containers control the particle size, the spray pattern, the volume dispensed per second and the concentration of the spray for maximum effectiveness. The hermetically sealed package protects the product and extends its useful life; aerosol paints and finishes, for example, can be stored without risk of evaporation.
Clean and Sanitary Use:
Aerosol products can be applied without contact, protecting users from mess, germs and, in case of burns or lacerations, with a minimum of pain. Family members can hygienically share aerosol personal care products. In addition, the sealed can prevents any product contamination.
Aerosol containers give consumers the use of products— from shaving cream and long-distance spray insecticides to asthma inhalers and other medical products—which would be unavailable otherwise.
Aerosol containers are spill proof, which is helpful for medical and personal care products used by travelers, children, nurses and the elderly. They eliminate the need for mixing containers and applicators. They can be stored and used in the same container, often for long periods of time.