Procedures For Safe Aerosol Can Disposal
If your industry makes regular use of aerosol cans, then you know just how much of a hassle it can be to find storage space for all of your empties until it is time to take them to the local hazardous waste disposal site. Even if you do have a dumpster or storage room dedicated to aerosol cans, you might be nervous about the idea of stockpiling an item that is well known to be a risk for accidental explosion. When empty, these cans can maintain enough of their original propellant and contents to transform into a flammable projectile should a spark or heat source be introduced. This can be either the result of a can falling and becoming punctured or impaled by a piece of metal, or stem from a storage area being gradually heated by the sun over the course of the day, causing gases inside the cans to expand to a dangerous level.
Modern safety equipment allows risk managers to avoid this type of shadow from hanging over their facility through the use of can disposal systems. These self-contained units not only depressurize aerosol cans, but they also allow for the safe and concentrated storage of their contents. Can disposal devices such as Justrite’s Aerosolv line mount to any 55 gallon drum and require no external power source. Using a simple hand press, the device pierces any 200 series, 300 series or 6 ounce aerosol can and then captures both the remaining liquid inside as well as any hydrocarbons or foul odors that might be present. The latter are filtered through activated carbon in order to cleanse the can’s contents completely.
Once the can is empty, it can be recycled in the same way as any other metal. Not only does this device reduce the risk of an explosion or fire at a facility, but it also encourages a more eco-conscious mindset thanks to the ability to transform waste into recyclable material. In fact, Justrite claims that 100 punctured cans represents 25 lbs of metal that can be used again, and 10 cubic feet of waste that won’t be taking up space in a landfill.
A further benefit of this type of aerosol disposal system is that it allows for the mitigation of chemical hazards by transforming the storage medium for aerosolized liquids from weak and thin canister to sturdy 55 gallon drums. A single drum can accept the contents of as many as 4,000 emptied aerosol cans. Depending on how heavy your can usage is, this can radically reduce the amount of room required to store this type of hazardous waste as well as increase the security of that storage.
When disposing of aerosolized chemicals in this fashion, it’s important to keep in mind what types of substances you will be mixing together in the new storage drum. Your safety policy should include strict guidelines regarding the segregation of potentially reactive chemicals. Workers should be properly trained in how to identify and manage different aerosols in order to prevent the creation of a potentially dangerous chemical soup.