Spray paint cans are a great way to get creative and add vibrant colors or intricate designs to your projects. However, for environmental reasons, it’s important to properly recycle spray paint cans instead of throwing them in the trash. With a few simple steps, you can quickly learn how to recycle these cans responsibly and help reduce waste in our landfills yearly. Keep reading for tips on recycling spray paint!

How To Recycle Spray Paint Cans

How To Recycle Spray Paint Cans?

List of things you will need:

  • A pair of gloves
  • Old newspaper
  • An empty cardboard or plastic box
  • Eye protection gear (safety glasses)
  • Respirator mask (optional)


Put the gloves and safety glasses on, and place the newspaper in a cardboard/plastic box. If you plan to work indoors, put on a respirator mask for extra protection from the fumes of aerosol cans.

Empty Cans:

Make sure each spray paint can is empty before disposing of it. Shake the can, listen for the liquid, or spray until nothing comes out. Most aerosol cans have plastic caps that should be removed and recycled separately. Visit our recycling guide on plastic caps for more information.

Dispose of:

Once your aerosol cans are empty, seal them properly with their lids before disposing of them in the designated aerosol can recycling bin. DO NOT puncture a hole in the can to remove any remaining product, as this will cause an explosion and hurt you.


Bring your empty aerosol cans to a local recycling center, or find out if you can schedule a pickup for curbside collection. Please check with your local waste management provider for specific instructions on recycling and disposing of aerosol cans safely and adequately.

Final Notes:

Empty aerosol cans are considered hazardous waste because of their flammable content, so you must follow proper disposal procedures. Never throw away entire aerosol cans in the trash or leave them lying around.

Always triple-check that they’re empty before disposing of them! Following these guidelines will help ensure that your aerosol cans are recycled and disposed of safely in the environment.

Can aerosol cans be recycled?

Aerosol cans can be recycled because they contain tin-plated steel and aluminum. Because these materials are both recyclable, it is feasible to recycle aerosol cans after the product inside has been emptied. Ensure that the cans do not pose any danger during recycling; removing all spray paint or hazardous products from the can is critical before putting it in a recycling bin. If your municipality does not gather aerosol cans, you may need to transport them to a metal and aluminum recycling facility. Following proper disposal procedures and recycling aerosol cans where feasible can help reduce our environmental impact while ensuring that resources are reused ethically.

How do you empty old spray paint cans?

It is important to remember that spray paint cans should never be punctured or disabled in any way. Instead, please take the necessary safety precautions and look for other ways to empty them. The safest method for emptying old spray paint cans is a nozzle extension, so you don’t have to work close to the can. Then, hold the can in one hand and the nozzle extension in the other, pointing away from your body and face. Spray until the product stops coming out of the can and ceases making a hissing noise. Once complete, dispose of the empty can according to local regulations. This process helps ensure that this dangerous material does not end up on our streets or in nature, where it can cause significant damage.

What can I do with full spray paint cans?

Spray paint cans that are full or partly full cannot be recycled in most local recycling programs and must be disposed of at a hazardous waste location. Some towns, cities, or counties may offer special collection days to dispose of hazardous waste materials. Alternatively, you can look for a commercial hazardous waste collection company to take them off your hands.

Be sure to properly label all aerosol containers with the type of material inside before disposing of them. Disposing of these items responsibly is essential so they do not contaminate the environment or harm anyone. Always check local regulations on how to dispose of aerosols that are no longer usable properly. By taking the time to recycle and properly dispose of spray paint cans, you are helping to protect the environment and keep everyone safe.

If you have spray paint cans that are still usable, consider using them for craft projects or donating them to a local school or community center. There are many creative ways to upcycle full aerosol cans, from creating unique artwork to adding special accents and finishes on everyday items. With some imagination, you can turn your unused aerosols into something beautiful!

Always take safety precautions when handling any aerosol container by wearing protective gloves and eyewear. Additionally, ventilate the area where you’re working so that fumes do not build up inside. This will help ensure your safety while working with hazardous materials like spray paint cans.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What should I do with a spray paint can once it’s empty?

Once the aerosol container is empty, please take it to a hazardous waste disposal center or recycling facility that accepts aerosol cans. If your local council doesn’t have one, check online to find the nearest facility to accept your aerosol cans.

Can I leave the nozzle on when disposing of an aerosol can?

No, you must remove the nozzle of any aerosol before disposing of them. If the paint is still in the can, place it in an appropriate container and dispose of it correctly at your local hazardous waste disposal center or recycling facility.

What happens if I don’t recycle my spray paint cans?

If you do not recycle your spray paint cans, they could end up in landfills or contribute to air pollution. Aerosols contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contributing to smog and ozone formation when released into the atmosphere. Additionally, aerosols are made of metal which takes a long time to break down and could contaminate the environment. Recycling your aerosol cans can help reduce pollution, save energy and resources, and limit waste going to landfills.


Finally, recycling spray paint cans is an important task that should be taken seriously. It is always recommended to consult local authorities regarding the laws and regulations around properly disposing of hazardous materials. Additionally, many organizations have drop-off locations for aerosol cans and other types of hazardous waste. Taking the time to recycle these cans properly will help protect our environment and keep our communities safe.

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