Aerosol recycling – the point of view of an aerosol manufacturer
Aerosol recycling is one of the most frequent question about aerosol. Unfortunately, some data can look contradictory, depending on the researches on Internet and the date of the publication.
With our recent Ecocert Cosmos certification, this is important for us to be a responsible and ethical actor for environment respect.
Why the question of aerosol recycling is sensitive ?
It is linked to the fact that it is an under pressure recipient, with flammable materials inside. This recycling question leaves a lot of consumers wondering where to bin it: yellow bin, normal bin or visit to the closest recycling centre ?
Good to know: an aerosol left in nature will take between 50 and 200 years to degrade, not counting on this matter the vegetal pollution left in this place of depot.
Then, how to manage the end of the lifecycle of a product in aerosol ? What are the current performances of the recycling industry for aerosols ? Are there specific branches of the recycling industry for aerosol ?
The goal of this article is to give our aerosol filler perspective on this matter and also to make a photo of what it is possible to do for aerosol recycling at this moment (June 2019). We will work to update it as soon as some new informations or techniques come up. As well we will try to answer the question to know if for cosmetics, aerosol is more recyclable than an airless plastic packaging ?
Aerosol recycling – a few guidelines …
First and foremost, aerosol recycling operates under a very strict frame. Aerosols are now commonly accepted in yellow bins if they are empty. Aerosol cans that are not empty should be taken to a recycling centre, , where they will be destroyed in incinerators for dangerous waste.
To find the closest recycling centre near where you live, a simple search on Internet is enough: recycling centre + the name of your town. In doubt, you can consult the government services and information on www.gov.uk under the section (https://www.gov.uk/recycling-collections) where you can find in more details how to dispose of your waste.
However, all the aerosols with pictograms of danger for your health or for the environment have to be taken to a recycling centre.
How does the aerosol compare with other cosmetics packaging for recycling ?
For exemple, how does the aerosol compare with an airless plastic packaging ?
Plastics is proteiform. Indeed, you can decline plastics in pots, bottles, tubes etc… All those packagings can use different materials. Those different materials for the plastics packagings can be the following: PET , PEHD , PEBD, PP, PS.
The more a packaging is from a single material, the easier it will be to recycle it. The plastics recycling figures will vary from one recycling centre to another depending on the equipments and tools they have to recycle it. Needless to say that the recycling capacities are not homogenous, which explain why sometimes plastics can be recyclable but is not recycled.
In the end, by gathering data from different sources, we can estimate that the recycling rate for plastics in on average of 26,75%* and 52% for aluminium
Nevertheless, those figures have to be taken with caution, they are just simple estimations and averages. However, aluminium has the property of being recyclable indefinitely while keeping the same properties. Here comes into action the famous metal industry slogan “metal recycles forever”. For plastics, currently the estimation for a plastic packaging goes from 7 to 10 times.
In conclusion, the recycling of aerosol can definitely exist. Of course, there is still room for progress and for reaching higher recycling rates. There is a reflexion to lead on to communicate better and make consumers more aware of aerosol recycling possibilities. This reflexion is even more prevalent for the plastics packaging where the recycling rate is even lower.
Moreover, the thought process behind plastics recycling is also very interesting for aerosol manufacturers because of the rise of plastic aerosols. The aerosol is not anymore necessarily a metallic packaging. One of the new trends emerging is plastic aerosol (PET aerosol). It offers the advantage to make it more simple to obtain can with more creative shapes, while maintaining similar performances (mechanical, barriers) than a metallic packaging. For example, Febreze in the US has launched in January 2017 a plastic aerosol. We will write soon an article about this new trend of plastic aerosols.
A few words on us
PROERSA AEROSOLES, S.A.U. is a European market leader for aerosol filling. Since 1969, we dedicate ourselves exclusively to private label.
We make all the aerosol contract manufacturing process’ easier for you. We can offer you a turn-key solution ( Full-service) or just help you on specific operations. Our services include R&D, formulation, manufacturing of concentrate, filling and assembling of the components.
If you are developing a new aerosol product, but you have no idea where to start. You will find with the following link an article explaining you all the key steps of developing an aerosol. You will see as well how to put together an efficient retroplanning. The 5 key steps of an aerosol development and efficient retroplanning.
If you have an unstoppable curiosity for aerosol filling, we will release soon an ebook. You will find in there all the information, techniques and tips. To be among the first to receive it, please subscribe to the newsletter and we will make sure you receive it in preview.
If this article has been helpful and/or you wish to receive more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org . It will be our pleasure to help you.
The PROERSA Team.
Figures for plastics recycling in the UK
https://resource.co/article/uk-recycling-rate-increases-457-cent-13090 (22,5% of plastics recycled)
https://www.bpf.co.uk/sustainability/plastics_recycling.aspx (31% of plastics recycled)
Figures for aluminium recycling in the UK
https://alupro.org.uk/news/ (52% of aluminium recycled)