what-you-can-do-2.svg
Picture of an old spray can

As Recyclers

In General

As Artists

As Curators

As Manufacturers

As Recyclers

The End-of-Life of spray paint cans. What happens to your cans when you finish your piece and dispose of your cans? Read more about this on our Facts page: 'End-of-Life'. What happens with a spray paint can at the end of their life? We have some questions for the recycling companies to answer. Hopefully, they can help out by providing a more clear image on the topic of waste treatment of aerosols and in particular, the graffiti can.

  1. Understanding the End-of-Life
  2. What is the best option to get rid of your cans?
  3. Unanswered questions
  4. Invitation to recyclers

Understanding the End-of-Life

Did you know only 30 percent of all aerosol cans are recycled? A typical soda can in the US has a much higher recycling rate: 50 percent [1]. In Europe, it's around 76 percent for the typical beverage can [2]. Thus, there's a lot of room for improvement for aerosol spray cans. Let's move the needle together and improve the recycling rate of aerosol spray paint cans!

What is the best option to get rid of your cans?

Recycling them at the recycling facility and dropping them of at hazardous waste collection. Because aerosol cans containing paint, pesticides, and cleaning products are several examples of materials that may be hazardous when discarded. Most aerosol cans use hydrocarbons, such as propane, butane, or LPG gas as the propellant [3]. Hence, most waste aerosol cans that are not empty are ignitable hazardous wastes. Most of us don't clear out our paint cans and thus most cans (if not emptied properly) should be taken to hazardous waste collection.

Unanswered questions

There are still questions that are left unanswered. We hope to be able to answer them in the near future. Here are a few of them.

  • How bad is it if spray cans end up at landfills compared to incineration?
  • What are the benefits of recycling a spray paint can?
  • What happens if you leave spray cans in nature? How long does it take to decay?

Invitation to recyclers

We want to invite recyclers to share more information about the recycling steps and useful resources that are obtained from recycling spray paint cans. We know that recycling possibilities differ per country and region. This makes the problem of managing the aerosol waste complex. We invite recyclers to share their experience with us and we will inform our fellow allies!

References

[1] RecyclingInternational.com

[2] PackagingInsights.com

[3] https://dtsc.ca.gov/aerosol-can-waste-management/

Picture of trashPicture of trash