Aerosol Cans

October 26, 2023

Products are dispensed from aerosol cans with a propellant. The propellant, which helps spray the product out of the can, is often considered hazardous waste and may include hydrocarbons, such as butane or liquified propane gas. The product itself may also be hazardous if it is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic. 

Products that come in aerosol cans include:

  • Hairspray.
  • Bug spray.
  • Shaving cream.
  • Spray whipped cream and cheese cans.
  • Paint.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Pesticides.
  • Cleaning products.
  • Lubricants.

To get rid of aerosol cans still containing product or propellant, recycle them through a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection event or permanent facility, OR put them in a designated container marked "Universal Waste/Used Aerosol Cans" at your town transfer station (if available).

Empty aerosol cans (all product and propellant dispensed) are not considered a hazardous waste and can be recycled as scrap metal or disposed of in the regular trash. Only use a product for its intended purpose; do not vent cans to empty them.

Universal wastes are a subcategory of recycled, hazardous waste. Read our universal waste blog to learn more!


Households and municipalities should contact the NHDES HHW Program via email at or by phone at (603) 271-2047.

Visit our Managing My Waste page to learn about other types of household waste.