Are Aerosol Cans Recyclable?

Recyclable aerosol cans hold their contents under pressure, releasing the liquid or air as you press the button. 

You use aerosol cans filled with air for a quick and temporary flat tire fix. Hair products, whipped toppings, and other products also come in aerosol cans.

When the can empties, you toss it the trash where it ends up in a landfill. You don’t want to give up the convenience of aerosol cans but want to reduce your carbon footprint.

So, are aerosol cans recyclable or do they always end up in the trash?

Recyclable Aerosol Cans

Are Aerosol Cans Recyclable?

Aerosol cans are usually aluminum or steel, and these metals are recyclable. You can recycle aerosol cans, just make sure you toss them in the right bin.

Some cities and states like New York City and California require residents to separate their recycling. Plastics go in one bin, glass in another, and metal in a third container.

Steel and aluminum cans go in the metal recycling bin.

Don’t worry about the small spray nozzle.

You do not need to remove it. The plastic cap may need removing, it depends on what the recycling facility accepts.

Aerosol Cans

How Do I Dispose of Aerosol Cans?

After emptying the aerosol can, you can add it to your other recycling. The plastic cap is not recyclable. Do not add it to your plastics. Instead, take the caps to a specialty recycling plant.

A specific process is used to recycle plastics not rated as number one or two.

Another way to dispose of aerosol cans is by returning them to a hazardous waste collection facility.

It’s not necessary if the aerosol can only hold air or hairspray, but you can not put hazardous chemicals in a recycling bin.

Any aerosol cans containing hazardous chemicals must go to a hazardous waste site. Some facilities hold annual events for residents to drop off their aerosol cans.

You can check your local government webpage for more information in your area.

Recyclable Aerosol Cans

Are Lysol Cans Recyclable?

Lysol is a common household item, and you also find it at hospitals, restaurants, offices, and anywhere else people gather. It’s great at killing germs, but what do you do with the empty aerosol cans?

Empty Lysol cans go in with your metal recycling items. You do need to throw the cap away or take it to a recycler that deals in that type of plastic.

Any plastic not rated one or two goes to a specialty facility.

If the can isn’t empty, do not recycle. Instead, take it to a hazardous waste site for recycling.

Recyclable Aerosol Cans

Can You Put Aerosol Cans in Recycling?

You can recycle aerosol cans with metal recycling, after following a few steps.

Don’t forget to remove the plastic cap. Most aerosol cans use number 5 plastics for their caps, and it’s not accepted by most local recycling plants.

Make sure the aerosol can is empty and try to remove the pressure without puncturing the outside. Don’t worry about the nozzle. The recycling center will take care of it.

By following these simple steps, you can put most aerosol cans in recycling bins. The only exceptions are ones with hazardous chemicals.

Recyclable Aerosol Cans

Where Do You Place a Partially Full Aerosol Can?

Sometimes, you don’t use all of the product inside an aerosol can. So, what do you do with the partially full can?

What you don’t want to do is place it in a recycling bin. Even pressured air aerosol cans need to be empty before recycling. It’s a safety issue for the recycling plant.

When there’s still product in an aerosol can, it’s time to contact your local household hazardous waste center. It’s usually free to drop off partially full aerosol cans, but some sites do charge a small fee.

You can also wait until your city hosts a hazardous chemical disposal event.

If sustainability is important, check with your local small businesses. Sometimes, they accept partially used aerosol cans.

They use the remainder of the product and take care of the recycling.



You can do your part for the environment and use aerosol cans by practicing good recycling habits. Aerosol cans are recyclable, just make sure they are empty.

Don’t forget to remove the plastic cap. It requires a specialized recycling process.

Even partially full aerosol cans are recyclable. It just takes another step. Take these cans to a hazardous waste pickup site. You can even take the plastic caps.

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