Aerosols or sprays are common products with a high polluting power due to their content of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). For this reason, it is very important to reduce its use, as well as to minimize its waste and recycle its packaging. In addition, the content of these containers is usually highly flammable, therefore this is one more reason to recycle them correctly instead of discarding them in any way in the environment.
Since when do we use aerosols
Before answering the question about where empty or full aerosols are thrown away , let’s explain where they come from. The first spray was manufactured in the United States during the decade of the 40s of the last century and was used to combat insect – borne diseases in the Pacific soldiers during World War II. Initially, some 50 million units were manufactured, and since not all were used, some units were sold in the North American market.
However, it was in the 1950s and 1960s that the first insecticides, air fresheners, and lacquers were manufactured. In Spain, aerosols began to be manufactured in 1957. From that moment, the products that used aerosols were expanded and their production increased exponentially. At first, the containers were made of drawn aluminum and later various pieces of tinplate began to be used.
This allows us to get an idea of how long we have been polluting the planet with aerosols , about 80 years or so.
As we mentioned, there are many products that use aerosols. Aerosols fulfill various functions, both in the domestic and industrial fields:
- Domestic environment: aerosols are used in air fresheners, stain removers, insecticides or cleaning products
- Perfumery and cosmetics: used in the manufacture of aerosol deodorants, shaving foams or hairspray
- Arts and designs: used to make fixing lacquers, paints or different types of adhesives
- Medicinal uses: used in the manufacture of respiratory inhalers
- Leisure: manufacture of different products such as artificial snow
- Food: aerosols are used to make food products such as whipped cream or cream
Aerosol containers are made up of up to 75% tinplate, 24% aluminum, and up to 1% glass or plastic . Currently, a high proportion of recyclable products are used in their manufacture and a large proportion are recycled metals. In the European Union, aerosols are recycled by different methods and approximately 1 billion aerosols are recycled.
Aerosols pollute the environment
An aerosol or spray is defined as the set consisting of the non-reusable metal, glass or plastic container that houses a compressed gas under pressure, liquefied or dissolved with or without liquid, powder or paste. This container also has a discharge system that allows the evacuation of the content, whether in solid or liquid particles in a foam gas, paste, powder or liquid.
Aerosols can be found in a multitude of products and for different purposes and their packaging is fully recyclable. It was decades ago when it was found that the extensive use of aerosols was seriously damaging the ozone layer , causing its thinning and, therefore, a higher incidence of solar rays in the atmosphere, due to the high amount of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that emit. For this reason, the measure of recycling its packaging was adopted, which currently consists of a large proportion of recycled metals. In addition, therefore not using or minimizing the use of sprays and aerosols is one of the guidelines to follow to take care of the ozone layer .
The correct treatment of empty and discarded aerosols for recycling includes the separation and individual treatment of each component . Thus, household sprays or aerosols such as shaving foam, deodorants, cream sprays, whipped cream sprays, insecticides or air fresheners, can be recycled in the yellow container , together with metal containers, plastic containers. or even milk cartons.
Aerosol containers that are still full or partially consumed are classified according to their content at the time of disposal. Usually, the instructions come in the same container, which we must follow to the letter for disposal. As they are generally extremely flammable products, they must be discarded at the clean or special collection point in your area for proper treatment. When it comes to pharmaceutical products such as respiratory inhalers, they must be disposed of at the SIGRE point . We can find one of these points in any pharmacy in our country.