What would you like to Recycle?

Aerosol Containers (HHW)

spray cans
Aerosol Containers (HHW)
Many cleaners, paints, pesticides, personal care products and adhesives are classified as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and are packaged in metal aerosol spray containers. These metal containers are recyclable and banned from the garbage.

Partially full spray cans are generally considered hazardous waste because they contain ignitable or chlorinated solvents or other toxins such as pesticides and phthalates. 

Whether empty or partially full, residential quantities of these containers can be dropped off at no charge at the Hartland depot and other Product Care facilities. Check the listings below for additional drop off locations. 

Some clean, empty aerosol containers are accepted in the blue box. See Aerosol Containers (non-HHW).

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | Facilities

How do I go green?

Could the entire process using the aerosol be eliminated? If your can is for cleaning, consider cleaning green. Using environmentally friendly products will reduce your impact on the environment.
Use only as much as is needed. Use up products before buying others. To apply paints, use a brush instead of an aerosol. Look for the product in a manual pump container.

The Hartland Depot has a paint exchange and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore also accepts used paint for resale. Could friends or family use your leftover product?

Not all facilities listed below will accept all kinds of aerosol containers. Contact facilities directly regarding restrictions and charges.


  • Ellice Recycle

    524 David Street

  • GFL Environmental (formerly Alpine, and Terrapure Environmental)

    1045 Dunford Avenue

  • Hartland Depot

    1 Hartland Avenue

  • JOMA Environmental Ltd.

    Pick-up service available across the capital region


  • Oak Bay Public Works Yard (Oak Bay residents only)

    1771 Elgin Road
    Oak Bay

  • Salt Spring Island Recycling Depot

    349 Rainbow Road
    Salt Spring Island

  • Saturna Island Recycling Depot

    101 Harris Road
    Saturna Island

  • The Environmental Story

    Before 1987 the propellant used to force the aerosol out of the can was chlorofluorocarbon or CFC, which damaged the ozone layer. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, aerosol containers now use a hydrocarbon gas, nitrogen or air depending on the material to be sprayed. There are still potential environmental and safety issues but the ozone related problems have been addressed.
    CFCs are still used in some applications (e.g. asthma inhalers) but the number of these exceptions is limited.
    There are many other environmental concerns with aerosol containers. For example house paint, a petroleum based product, can contain up to 1500 different petrochemicals, which are toxic when in liquid and drying form. These volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, smog and require large amounts of energy to make. Low VOC paints are now widely available.

    Did You Know?

    The typical spray can contains at least 25% recycled metal. 
    If the 3.5 billion+ aerosol products sold annually were recycled, enough steel would be produced for 160,000 automobiles.