What would you like to Recycle?

Aerosol Containers

spray cans, aerosols, aerosol cans, aerosol containers
Aerosol Containers
Many cleaners, paints, pesticides, personal care products and adhesives are packaged in aerosol spray containers. While aerosol containers no longer contain chlorofluorocarbon or CFC, these thin-walled steel or aluminum vessels are pressurized with one of several hydrocarbon propellants, such as carbon dioxide, propane and butane.  These propellants are “greenhouse gases” that contribute to global warming and smog formation.
When completely empty, the propellant and product are gone and the containers are not considered hazardous wastes. Metal is banned from the garbage at Hartland landfill so empty aerosol containers must be recycled.  Partially empty spray cans are generally considered hazardous waste because they contain ignitable or chlorinated solvents or other toxins such as pesticides and phthalates. 

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | Facilities

How do I go green?


First, determine whether or not that spray can is even needed. Could the entire process using the aerosol be eliminated?  If your can is for cleaning, consider cleaning green, using online nature products. If required, choose a non-hazardous product or the least hazardous product that will do the job (a Material Safety Data Sheet — MSDS— is one resource that may be helpful).  Using environmentally friendly products will reduce your impact on the environment and keep your home safer and healthier.
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.
Shops and facilities that switch to refillable spray bottles are saving money by avoiding the high cost of aerosol containers and are helping to protect the environment by eliminating the solid and potentially hazardous waste they produce. 


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


Paint and pesticide aerosol containers are Product Stewardship items as well as being household hazardous waste. Residential quantities can be dropped off at no charge at the Hartland Landfill Recycling Facility and other Product Care facilities. Check the listings below for additional drop off locations.

Clean, empty aerosol containers are accepted in the blue box.

If the aerosol was a non-hazardous household product (see examples below) and is completely empty you can place them in your CRD blue box for curb side pick-up or they can be taken to any metal recycling facility  Aerosol containers are no longer explosive once they are empty.  Please remove the plastic lid which is also accepted in your blue box once it is removed.
If they are not empty, or they once contained hazardous materials such as paint or fuel, homeowners can bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste facility at Hartland landfill.  This does not apply to businesses.

Accepted are aluminum aerosol containers used for food, air fresheners, shaving cream, deodorant and hairspray.  These can be taken, free of charge, to the facilities listed here .  See the criteria above for curbside collection.
Please note that not all facilities listed below will accept all kinds of aerosol containers.  Phone before going to be sure.


  • Alpine Disposal & Recycling

    1045 Dunford Ave.

  • CRD Curbside Blue Box Recycling Program

    (pick up service only)

  • Ellice Recycle

    524 David Street

  • Hartland Depot

    1 Hartland Avenue

  • JOMA Environmental Ltd. (pick-up service only)


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

    1771 Elgin Road
    Oak Bay

  • Pender Island Recycling Depot

    4400 Otter Bay Road
    Pender Island

  • 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.
    CFC's 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.