From graffiti to at-home craft projects, spray paints have been a significant part of every artist’s journey.
However, it is important to realize that spray paint or aerosol cans no matter which company they belong to.
Even though there are different kinds of paints available in the market, people resort to spray paints because of their convenience.
Thus, the hazardous quality of aerosol sprays in the shape of spray paints is usually overlooked.
Why Are Aerosol Sprays Hazardous?
Aerosol sprays such as spray paints are hazardous because they are made with pressurized substances.
Steel or aluminum on the outside, with volatile pressurized contents on the inside, makes an aerosol can hazardous to the environment.
Not only is it hazardous, but it can also react with other substances and make the environment toxic.
Even though a single spray paint can seem pretty innocent, the impact just a couple of aerosol cans can have on a landfill is disastrous.
If you irresponsibly dispose of spray paint cans, it can lead to chemical seepage wherever it is dumped.
Several businesses today use aerosol cans for products that they sell. From paint to insecticide, aerosol sprays always represent a hazard.
Even if the hazard comes in a small canned form, it is very important to responsibly recycle and dispose of spray paint.
Therefore, this article highlights how you can dispose of spray paint so that you can take responsibility for the environment.
How To Dispose Of Spray Paint
Here are a few responsible ways through which you can dispose of spray paint:
Managing Aerosol Cans
There is no doubt in the fact spray paint can lead to a major aerosol can waste. Thus, the best way to dispose of spray paints is to manage aerosol cans.
So, how can you safely and responsibly recycle hazardous aerosol cans to not pollute the environment?
You can collect all empty aerosol cans and send them to a recycling site that handles universal waste or aerosol cans in particular.
Puncture The Spray Paint
Once the spray paint bottle is empty, you can puncture the empty spray paint can and recycle it as scrap metal.
There are several recycling plants and landfills looking for scrap metal materials such as empty and punctured aerosol cans.
The best way to go about this is to collect as many other small cans as you can around you and puncture them in one go.
This will save you the drive up and down from the landfill and get rid of all your spray paint cans altogether.
However, when you puncture the spray paint gun, ensure that you manage the liquids coming out of them appropriately.
The best time to puncture an aerosol can is when it is empty. Try not to dispose of spray paint when there’s still a significant amount of paint left in it.
If you have a leaky spray paint can, you need to package it separately in another container. Do not mix it with other aerosol sprays or absorbents.
Try to puncture it as soon as possible so that it does not leak around everywhere and become part of the environment.
Draining it quickly will help you recycle the can as well as safely manage the residual liquid.
Use An Aerosol Recycling System
An aerosol recycling system is a safe way to recycle spray paint and other aerosol cans.
This system consists of a standard-sized drum that can hold around 55 gallons of aerosol material.
All you have to do is screw in a puncturing device that fits into the aerosol recycling system and attach it to the necessary electric outlets.
Once that is done, you can insert the empty spray paint can into the section highlighted in the drum. You would probably need to twist it to lock it down with the nozzle facing downwards.
The aerosol recycling system actually allows any remaining liquid or propellant in the spray paint to drain completely.
This leaves the can absolutely empty and ready for safe recycling. If you recycle a punctured can without draining it, it can be very dangerous to the environment.
However, the problem with this particular disposal method is that you may not be able to install an aerosol recycling system at home.
After all, it is a 55-gallon drum and can be a pretty expensive investment.
You can try to search online for a recycling plant that offers this particular service instead.
But, if you have a recycling plant of your own, or want to get into this line of work, then investing in an aerosol recycling system is a good idea.
Reuse Them In An Art Project
If you are interested in crafts and art projects, it is probably best to store your spray paint for future use.
Spray paints are a great way to coat a surface with minimum effort and more coverage.
Other than this, the quality of paint works well on several textures and surfaces, giving a unique shine and smooth feel.
Not only is it quicker, but it is also much easier to quote an object or a project with spray paint than with a paintbrush.
If you have a selection of colors remaining from your previous art project, you can perhaps make graffiti or store them till a new project comes up.
Donate Them To An Art School
Let’s say you have a significant amount of used spray paint cans available, and you no longer need them.
Instead of draining and throwing them away, you can donate them to someone in need. It could be an art student you know or an art school nearby.
It is never wise to throw away resources, especially when aerosol sprays are not environmentally friendly. So, it is better to use them completely rather than waste them.
Choose Recycling Friendly Spray Paint
There are some companies out there that produce easily recyclable spray paint cans.
This means that once you are done using the spray paint, you can empty it responsibly and toss it into the trashcan without worrying about polluting a landfill.
If you want to put in the extra work, you can look for your closest metal recycling trashcan and dispose of your spray paint cans in that instead.
The difference between recycle-friendly spray paint cans and normal aerosol sprays is that the recyclable materials are made of easily recyclable materials by nearby plants and landfills.
Do keep in mind that you have to recycle the plastic caps separately.
So, when you dispose of spray paint cans, toss the plastic cap in the plastic recycling bin while the steel can goes into the metal one.
Before you go to purchase spray paint cans from your local supermarket or stationers, a little research on which brand is environmentally sustainable can help you later when you have to dispose of your spray paint cans.
How Can You Tell That Your Spray Can Is Empty?
You may have some old spray paints lying at the back of your cabinet or utility shelf, but you don’t remember if they have anything left in them or not.
Well, a simple way to check if your spray can is empty is to lay down a few sheets of newspaper in a well-ventilated environment and check.
Thoroughly shake the spray paint and point the nozzle towards the newspaper and begin to spray. If nothing comes out even after some vigorous shaking, then the can is empty.
However, if there is a little paint still in there, you can use it on a project or just spread it out in the newspaper before recycling the can.
The Bottom Line
Spray paints are fun to use and provide quality shine that no other paint type can provide.
However, it is important to understand that using spray paint comes with responsibly disposing of them once you’re done.
Do not forget that spray paints come in aerosol sprays, and disposing of them unsafely can be very harmful to the environment.
So, you should always try your best to use one of the methods highlighted above to safely and responsibly dispose of spray paint empty or otherwise.
Aerosol sprays are hazardous substances meant to be recycled carefully and properly so that the chemical toxins found inside them cannot cause harm.
Doing your part will keep aerosol sprays out of landfills, decreasing the percentage of chemical seepage in the soil.
This will protect the nearby water bodies and positively impact the fields that grow our food.
When you learn how to dispose of spray paint properly, you protect your own home, the workers who pick up and recycle trash, and the wildlife around the area.
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