Companies have taken drastic steps to make their products as eco-friendly as possible. Even those products that really can't be eco-friendly to begin with now have recycled packaging and may have removed some of the more egregious ingredients. Unfortunately, some things can't be changed, and one of those is the aerosol can. No matter what, you really don't want to toss these in the trash. You need to take them to an aerosol disposal service that will treat and dispose of the ingredients and packaging properly.
This Is a Household-Cleaner Spray Can. Why Does It Need Special Disposal?
Aerosol cans have a couple of issues restricting them to the land of special disposal. One is that the ingredients they usually hold are not suitable for the trash. They can be hazardous, like pesticide or paint, or they can be smelly, and the container can break open if crushed in the garbage truck, leading to leaks of cleaners and other substances down the street.
Another problem is that the cans are under pressure and can burst if they become overheated. The gases created by the substances left inside—even the residue—can overheat and cause the can sides to swell. While the bursting can't really be called an explosion, it can injure people nearby as shards from the metal can go flying.
Keep in mind, aerosol cans are different from spray bottles. Spray cans are fully enclosed; the only way to get the material inside out of the can is to spray it out. Spray bottles have removable tops; you can wash them out, and they are typically not pressurized. If you have a spray bottle full of vinegar, you can dump the vinegar in the sink and toss the spray bottle in the trash. A spray or aerosol can, however, still needs to be sent to a disposal company.
Why Can't Empty Aerosol Cans Be Thrown in the Trash?
So, you've used up all of the substance inside the can, to the point where you can't hear or feel anything move when you shake the can. You still can't toss it in the trash. Again, it's a matter of residue and environmental unfriendliness; while the can may be technically empty, there's still a coating on the inside of the can of whatever used to fill the space. If the can breaks open, that substance will be exposed to the environment.
Finding an aerosol disposal company is actually pretty easy; if nothing else, you can take the cans to your city or county's household hazardous waste disposal center. If you're with a company and have industrial cleaners that your city or county won't take, you can call a private company just like you would a junk-removal or private garbage-pickup company. Get those aerosol cans off your property and into the hands of people who can safely recycle the metal cans and dispose of the chemicals those cans used to hold.