How to Dispose of Aerosol

The contents of aerosol cans vary, from kitchen cooking oil to toxic solvent-based chemicals.

Aerosol cans use pressure to dispense a product.Aerosol cans use pressure to dispense a product.
The pressure that propels contents from the can causes a dangerous situation when disposed. Disposing of the aerosol can improperly might injure people if it explodes when accidentally compressed -- in the back of a garbage truck or the extreme heat of a fire. Cans that contain toxic substances require special care.

Set a cardboard box in a well-ventilated area -- preferably outside -- away from people, animals and other damageable items.

Read the back of each aerosol can. Set aside each can that contains CFCs or potentially dangerous chemicals.

Shake an aerosol can that does not contain CFCs or toxic chemicals. Aim the tip of the can at the cardboard box, with the can 4 to 6 inches from the bottom of the box. Depress the tip to discharge the contents into the cardboard box until the can is empty.

Discharge all nontoxic aerosol cans into the cardboard box. Throw empty cans in the trash.

Take all remaining full, toxic or CFC-propelled aerosol cans to a hazardous waste collection center to have them disposed of properly.

Things You Will Need

  • Cardboard box


  • Check the warning label of each aerosol can before spraying its contents in a cardboard box. Reactive chemicals could mix to create toxic fumes.