Globally, the majority of aerosol cans are manufactured from tin-plated steel or aluminium and are fully recyclable with similar other products such as food and beverage cans.
Steel and aluminium products are highly sought after by collectors and ultimately by the recycling organisations such as Collect a Can, resulting in them being the most recycled material, surpassing by far, glass, plastic, cardboard and other recyclable products.
Recycled steel is used in a variety of new products and in many cases tin-plated aerosols contain a percentage of recycled material. In addition, energy and resources are saved due to the fact that the recylcing process can be repeated numerous times.
A few guidelines for consumers in the recycling process are:-
- The entire product must be used up ie; the can should be emptied
- Never pierce, squash or burn an aerosol can
- Keep the empty aerosol cans mixed in with your other household waste or in the metal receptacle at your local collection depot
In South Africa the collection process for recycling is still behind the sophisticated European and US standards, due mainly to much smaller volumes and the resultant economic constraints. However, the collection of recyclable materials such as aerosol, food and beverage cans is still effectively being accomplished by the informal sector (i.e. collectors who operate daily on our waste fill dump sites, who are thereby enabled to earn an income).
The AMA is active in endeavouring to ensure that the South African aerosol manufacturing sector is not to be found wanting in efforts to ensure that all current and new legislation concerning the disposal of waste packaging is complied with.