Spray Paint Recycling – Can You Recycle Aerosol Cans?
Spray Paint Recycling: In 1949, a woman named Bonnie Seymour innovated painting by suggesting to her husband to put paint in an aerosol can.
His husband did it, and painting became much easier. As a result, spray paint was born.
It amazes me up to this day how spray painting helps us make almost any kind of material look new and beautiful. In fact, I think spray painting beats hand brush painting by a long mile because of its convenience.
You can use it to paint your car, furniture, and your house! Heck, some even use it to cause trouble like graffiti artists.
Now, that is good and all. But what do we do with it after usage? Do we recycle it?
Yes, we do. Now, I am going to further elaborate on how recycling spray paint is done.
A Bit About Waster
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Spray Paint Recycling: All About Aerosol Recyclability
Remember that the contents of spray paint cans are highly flammable under pressure, which is why you cannot just simply throw them in your recycling bin.
In spite of this, aerosol cans are pretty much recyclable. Some spray paint companies, like Krylon®, even offer instructions on how to recycle their spray paint cans.
Why Recycle Spray Paint?
Aerosol cans contain 60 per cent tinplated steel and 40 per cent aluminium, making it pretty much recyclable.
According to recyclenow, recycling aluminium uses only around 5 per cent of the energy and emissions to make bauxite, which makes it very sustainable to recycle. In addition, you can recycle aluminium again and again without losing its quality.
To put it another way, recycling aluminium in aerosol cans is one of the best things we can do for the environment.
Equally important, steel is also very much recyclable. It can be recycled multiple times without the loss of properties, as well.
Here is how recycling aluminium cans coming from spray paint happens:
- Shred aluminium and remove any coloured coating.
- Melt shredded aluminium in a furnace.
- Pour molten aluminium into ingot casts. With each ingot, you can produce around 1.5 million cans.
Now, how about recycling steel from aerosol spray? Here are the steps:
- Put steel cans into the furnace and add molten iron.
- Blast oxygen into the furnace at around 1700 °C.
- Pour the finished liquid metal to form big slabs. Roll them into coils.
- Use them to make all sorts of steel products!
Tips On Disposing Of Spray Paint
Let me enumerate to you some tips on recycling aerosol cans.
- You should first make sure that the aerosol can is empty before disposing of it. Check if the aerosol is empty or not by following these simple steps (courtesy of Hunker): (1) get several sheets of newspaper or cardboard and lay them on the floor, (2) try spray painting at the scattered newspaper or cardboard (if no hissing noise is heard, then the can is empty), (3) try shaking the can and judge whether it is empty or not, and finally, (4) dispose of the empty aerosol cans in your recycling bin.
- Remember not to pierce, flatten, or crush aerosol cans.
- Remove the easily removable parts like the lid, and dispose of them with the rest of your recycling.
Spray Paint’s Hazard And Danger
Spray paints, or aerosol spray in general, can become extremely harmful if used poorly.
Each can of spray paint contains about 0.4 pounds of emissions. It damages the air quality around us.
It also affects rain negatively. Here, an excerpt from a NASA article is shown:
“Aerosols also have complex effects on clouds and precipitation. Broadly speaking, aerosols are thought to suppress precipitation because the particles decrease the size of water droplets in clouds. However, under some environmental conditions, aerosols can lead to taller clouds that are more likely to produce lightning and strong downpours. In a few places, meteorologists have even detected a cycle in which the frequency of thunderstorms is connected to mid-week peaks in aerosol emissions.”
In addition, “Aerosol type plays an important role in determining how aerosols affect clouds. Whereas reflective aerosols tend to brighten clouds and make them last longer, the black carbon from soot can have the opposite effect. Studies of pollution over the Indian Ocean and biomass burning smoke in the Amazon have shown that the black carbon warms the surrounding atmosphere and can cause cloud droplets to evaporate. This process, called the “semi-direct effect,” turns clouds into a smoky haze that suppresses precipitation.”
In general, it impacts climate change profoundly. NASA models suggest that the world would be about 1 °C hotter without aerosols in the air.
They also have a detrimental effect on human health. Aerosol sprays bring lung problems to humans. Additionally, short-term effects include eye and nose irritation while long-term effects include liver and kidney damage. Make sure you don’t get exposed to it on high levels.
In general, both humans and the environment suffer greatly by the misuse of aerosol spray cans.
Having said all of these, it is of the utmost importance to limit our use on aerosol spray paint or any other aerosol cans to improve sustainability on our environment. Note that recycling aerosol spray cans also help prevent air pollution by practising proper disposal.
Read more: See blog on commingled recycling.
Recycling spray paint is very much possible! Just make sure that the spray paint can is empty in order to avoid the can exploding due heat and pressure.
Dispose of your aerosol cans responsibly and purchase our commingled bin service now.
Read more: See blog on Australia recycling.