How to Dispose of Aerosols

Aerosol can being sprayed into the sky, looking like clouds.

Proper disposal of aerosol cans is essential for both environmental safety and compliance with regulations.

In the UK, there are specific guidelines to follow when dealing with these items. Whether you’re handling full or empty aerosol cans, understanding the correct disposal methods helps reduce environmental impact and avoid potential hazards.

Table of Contents

What Are Aerosol Cans?

Aerosol cans lined up next to each other.

So, what are aerosols? Aerosols are pressurised containers that release their contents in a fine spray or mist, commonly used for products like deodorants, cleaning sprays, and paints. They operate through a propellant system that forces the liquid out of the can when activated.

How to Dispose of Aerosols in the UK

Check Local Regulations

Before disposing of aerosol cans, always check your local council’s waste management guidelines. Rules can vary by region, so it’s important to follow the specific instructions for your area.

Understand Aerosol Can Types

Aerosol cans can be classified as either full or empty. The disposal method may vary depending on their status:

  • Full Aerosols: These contain pressurised contents and must be handled with caution.
  • Empty Aerosols: While they are safer to dispose of, they still require correct disposal to ensure safety and environmental protection.

How to Dispose of Full Aerosols

Guy spraying aerosol deodorant can.

If you have full aerosol cans, they should never be thrown away in regular household rubbish or put in a skip. Instead, they should be taken to a designated hazardous waste facility. Many local councils offer special collection services or drop-off points for hazardous materials, including full aerosols. Ensure you:

  • Contact your local waste disposal facility for guidelines on handling full aerosols.
  • Never puncture or incinerate aerosol cans, as this can be extremely dangerous.

How to Dispose of Empty Aerosol Cans

Empty aerosol cans are less hazardous but still need to be disposed of properly:

  • Recycling: In many areas, empty aerosol cans can be recycled with other metals. However, they must be empty and not have any residue. Check your local recycling rules to confirm whether your curbside recycling program accepts aerosol cans.
  • Household Waste: If your local guidelines do not permit aerosol cans in curbside recycling, you may need to dispose of them with your regular household waste. Ensure the cans are fully emptied and follow any specific instructions your local council provides.

Can You Put Aerosols in Rubbish?

No, you should not place full or partially full aerosol cans in your household general waste bin due to the risks associated with their pressurised contents. Always follow local guidelines and use designated disposal or recycling facilities.

Can You Put Aerosols in a Skip?

Skip being used in a household garden.

Aerosol cans, whether full or empty, should not be placed in a skip as they can pose safety hazards. Skips are not equipped to handle the risks associated with pressurised cans, and doing so can result in accidents. Use appropriate disposal services or facilities.

What Are the Rules for Aerosol Cans?

  • Do not puncture or incinerate aerosol cans.
  • Follow local disposal and recycling guidelines to ensure safe handling and environmental protection.
  • Avoid placing full aerosol cans in general waste or skips.

What Not to Do with Aerosol Cans

  • Do not throw away full aerosol cans in regular household waste or skips.
  • Do not attempt to puncture or incinerate aerosol cans yourself.
  • Do not place empty aerosol cans in recycling bins unless local guidelines specifically allow it.

Final Thoughts

Proper disposal of aerosol cans is crucial for maintaining safety and environmental health. By understanding and following the correct procedures for full and empty aerosol cans, you help ensure that these items do not pose risks to people or the planet.

Always check local regulations and use designated facilities for hazardous materials and recycling to manage your aerosol waste responsibly.

If you’re ever unsure about how to dispose of aerosol cans, contact your local council or waste management authority for the most accurate and relevant advice.

For more information on waste disposal, visit your local council’s website or consult environmental protection agencies to ensure you are following the best practices for aerosol can disposal.


  • How can I tell if an aerosol can is empty?
  • Are there any environmental concerns with aerosols?

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