Perceptions don’t always match reality or evolve in lockstep with the marketplace. In fact, sometimes they don’t change at all, getting mired in outdated information like stepping into quicksand without a convenient way to pull themselves out. Of course, much of this is simply due to human nature where, as a species, we get comfortable in antiquated thought strictly out of familiarity.
For industry, however, no matter the source of the misconceived or old-fashioned thinking, it is important for organizations to educate the consumer base on emerging trends and innovations that fly in the face of outdated thought. Such is the case with aerosol cans, a once favorite product that continues to suffer from a bad reputation cultivated over decades of environmental damage to air quality and landfills throughout the world. Times change, though, and so have aerosol cans in recent years.
As is often the case, technology heals old wounds and, true to form, advancements in aerosol can manufacturing, valves, and propellants have made the necessary improvements for aerosol cans to re-enter the good graces of the consuming public. Now comes the hard part, though — convincing the world that things can change, get better, and leave a checkered past behind. It’s time to be reintroduced to an old friend.
A Quick Look Back
Although invented in the 1920s, aerosol cans didn’t find widespread popularity until the 1940s, at which point usage skyrocketed. From food to automotive products, paint to cleaning supplies, aerosol cans were a mainstay throughout society based on their convenience and functionality. With a heightened sense of environmental awareness in the 1960s and 1970s, however, aerosol cans came under scrutiny for the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used for propellant, as well as the toxicity to landfills and groundwater from empty cans.
That period of awareness was the birth of the bad reputation that aerosol cans have been trying to shake ever since, but without much luck. Fortunately, as stated, advancements in aerosol can production and materials, spray valves, and propellants have given new life to the still beleaguered product. Now it is the responsibility of manufacturers and entire industries to spread the word, embrace the innovations, and allow the marketplace to once again enjoy the tremendous convenience afforded by aerosol cans in a variety of different applications.
Focus on the Future
Over the last decade, advancements in different technologies from different companies in the industry have all been working to solve the environmental issues typically associated with aerosol cans. For instance, researchers have developed new aerosol valves that are specifically designed to accommodate new propellants that are far cleaner and environmentally friendly.
As for those propellants, the HFCs of decades past are now gone but even newer, cleaner propellants still release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that damage the ozone layer and create smog in highly populated urban centers. Researchers have revealed direct links between respiratory disease in the elderly and a higher prevalence of asthma in children to VOCs and excessive smog. However, once again thanks to technology, environmentally harmless gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and even compressed air can be paired with new generations of valves for clean aerosol cans.
A Better Aerosol Can
That, of course, leaves us with the cans themselves. Since their explosion in popularity in the 1940s, spent aerosol cans have been considered hazardous waste given their capacity for environmental damage. There simply has been no viable answer for a socially responsible, environmentally friendly way to dispose of them which, after a number of years, became the root of aerosol’s negative perception by the public. Just like advancements in spray valves and propellants, however, aerosol can manufacturing has evolved to meet, even exceed, today’s higher environmental standards.
Using our own innovations at Tecnocap as an example, monobloc aerosol cans made from aluminum are entirely recyclable and have no joints or welds, meaning there is no opportunity for any remaining liquids to leak from them. They can also be paired with a variety of different valves and propellants, making them a reliable green solution with zero waste that still delivers the convenience of aerosol products but without the environmental hazards of old. Likewise, aerosol cans that combine the many socially responsible, earth-friendly innovations developed in the past decade are safe at every stage of the supply chain, from manufacturing and distribution to inventory and the end user.
Industry Is Taking Notice
Thankfully, different industries are already taking advantage of the new, cleaner aerosol cans, particularly within the beauty care, automotive, food, and pharmaceutical sectors, along with many other industries. It’s only a matter of time until the prevalence, convenience, and reliability of new monobloc, aluminum aerosol cans featuring environmentally safe valves and propellants become the new norm, leaving behind the hazardous remnants of the past for a healthier future.
Thanks to technology as well as the companies and consumer segments already willing to give an old standby another try, the world is starting to understand that aerosol cans aren’t what they used to be, and everyone’s better off because of it.