Recycling of aerosol cans

Aerosol can recycling: the responsible choice

An aerosol spray is a mechanism that allows a liquid – such as paint, lubricant, polish or even whipped cream – to be dispensed in the form of a fine mist, spray or foam. Because aerosol cans also contain a pressurised gas (or ‘propellant’), disposing of them is a highly specialised process. As one of the leading names in the sector, REMONDIS Industrie Service has 40 years of experience in recycling and disposing of aerosol cans, serving the needs of both German and international waste providers.

To find out what we can do for you, please e-mail us

Recycling aerosol cans: a job for the experts

Given the potential damage to the environment, aerosol products containing propellant need to be recycled with skill, care and specialist technology. Most common propellants used in spray cans are propane, butane or dimethyl ether, all of which are highly flammable and can form explosive mixtures with air oxygen. In other words, recycling and disposing of aerosol cans calls for the kind of expertise and experience that you will find at REMONDIS.

Which aerosol cans do we recycle?

REMONDIS is the partner of choice for industry and consumers when it comes to recycling aerosol cans of all types and sizes. These range from spray cans containing paint or varnish to diverse aerosol products from the cosmetics, food or pharmaceuticals industries. Tinplate and aluminium from the cans are shredded, melted down and reused in production, while the propellant gases are used as a replacement fuel to generate energy. Only those elements that cannot be recycled are disposed of – needless to say, this is done in such a way that no harmful greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.

Disposing of full aerosol cans

Our service also includes disposing of full or partially full aerosol cans. In this case, as well as reusing the metals and propellant gases, we recycle the contents of the spray cans – such as paint, varnish, cosmetics, lubricants or pharmaceuticals – or dispose of them in an environmentally responsible way. If required, we are also able to dispose of gas cartridges, lighters and other products that are not directly related to aerosol cans for example. Our industrial recycling centre in Bramsche is listed by the UBA, Germany’s central environmental authority, as one of the best available facilities for treating specialist waste.

Aerosol can recycling: how it works

When customers deliver aerosol cans in bulk for recycling and disposal, these are sorted and any contaminants or incorrect items removed. Following this, the aerosol cans are crushed under inert conditions and then separated into three material streams: propellants, liquids and metals. Once separated, the propellants are used as a source of energy, the liquids are treated thermally and the aluminium and tinplate from the cans are shredded, melted down and reintroduced into the production cycle. As required by law, we make a distinction between recycling and disposal treatments (R and D procedures). This means that we recycle aerosol cans in accordance with the R4 technical guidelines on the environmentally sound recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds.

Disposal of gas cylinders vs. aerosol can recycling

The main difference between the treatment of spray cans and gas cylinders is that gases are disposed of (D procedure) but spray cans are recycled (R procedure). While gases come in large containers (cylinders, LGB and ISO pressure containers) and are emptied by pressure and then burned or scrubbed directly, aerosol cans are generally delivered in bulk and the propellants they contain are recycled and used for energy production. Find out more about our solutions for gas cylinders

REMONDIS Industrie Service GmbH