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To be considered empty, an aerosol can must contain NO propellant and NO product, and must be at atmospheric pressure. UNC regulates all partially empty spray cans as Hazardous Waste because they may still contain ignitable propellants, chlorinated solvents, flammable material, or toxic substances.


  • Request a pick-up of your aerosol cans.
  • Contact the UNC EHS at 962-5723 for assistance with disposal of aerosol cans.
  • Store Aerosol cans in a Closed container labeled as “Aerosol Cans”.
  • Return spray cans that malfunction (for example, the tip breaks off) to the manufacturer or dispose of them as Hazardous Waste.
  • Establish a distribution control system to limit aerosol cleaner use.
  • Consider phasing out the use of spray cans containing hazardous chemicals in your shop.
  • Consider using refillable containers that use compressed air as the propellant.


  • Do Not discard partially empty spray cans in the trash.
  • Do Not puncture any aerosol cans.
  • Do Not spray aerosols in/around other solvents or parts washers. Hazardous Waste contamination may result.
  • Do Not purchase products that contain chlorofluorocarbons or hazardous chemicals.