Guide to Managing Aerosol Cans

This resource has been developed by the Department of Solid Waste to provide businesses with guidance on how to properly manage wastes in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.

Aerosol Cans come in a variety of types and sizes and can be hazardous due to the propellant or the product within the aerosol can. If an aerosol can is no longer usable, contains product and becomes a waste, it can either be managed as a universal waste or hazardous waste.

Florida adopted the new Universal Waste Rule for Aerosol Cans on October 30, 2020, which allows for them to be managed as a universal waste.

Aerosol Can Management

Compliance Tips

Written documentation of waste management/disposal is always recommended.

Best Management Practices

  • Conduct an inventory to determine which aerosols are essential to your business, and stop purchasing non-essential aerosol products, especially those containing hazardous constituents.
  • Train employees to hold aerosol cans upright when using them to maximize the use of the contained product. Otherwise the propellant will be used and there will be remaining product that is potentially hazardous.
  • Unclog or replace clogged aerosol can nozzles; otherwise, manage aerosol cans with clogged nozzles as hazardous waste.
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Spent Aerosol Can Management Methods

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Arerosol cans that are empty of product and approaching atmospheric pressure maybe recycled or put in the trash. Leaking Aerosol cans must be packaged in a in a separate closed container, or overpacked with absorbents, or be immediately punctured and drained with an appropriate device following all manufacturer’s recommendations. There are three options for non-empty aerosol cans. Option 1: Universal Waste. Accumulate for up to 1 year in appropriate container. Label “Universal Waste – Aerosol Cans” or “Used Aerosol Cans." Manage through licensed universal waste hauler. Option 2: Hazardous Waste Conduct an accurate waste determination. Manage as hazardous. Note: aerosol cans may be hazardous due to the contents and/or propellant. Option 3: Can puncturing device. Puncturing is permitted if: 1. Puncturing and draining is performed with a device that is designed to safely puncture the cans and contain the residual liquids. 2. Emptied punctured aerosol cans MUST be recycled. 3. Written procedures for safely puncturing and draining the can are written and followed. 4. Manufacturers specifications and instructions are maintained onsite. 5. Employees are trained to use the puncturing unit. 6. Puncturing is conducted in a manner that prevents the risk of fire or harmful releases to the environment. 7. The container holding residual liquid waste meets applicable RCRA standards for security, inspections, personnel training and the safe management of ignitable, reactive and incompatible wastes. 8. An accurate hazardous waste determination is conducted on residual wastes and it is managed in accordance with any applicable RCRA regulations. 9. A written procedure is developed for the cleanup of leaks and spills. 10. A spill kit is provided, and spills are cleaned up promptly.

Contact Us

For more information or to request a printed copy of this guide, contact the Pinellas County Small Quantity Generator Program at (727) 464-7500 or