Mike MacKay, one of the co-inventor of a device to recycle large quantities of aerosol cans, was recently named a “Recycling Hero” by Global Recycling Foundation.

The Despray Containerized Recycling Systems, co-created by Mike McKay 25 years go, is capable of processing large quantities of aerosol cans can crushing them into solid bricks of aluminum or steel. Simultaneously, the machine captures the 5 to 25% remaining aer0sols in the cans and compresses them into alternative fuels.

How it Works

  1. The cans go into a hopper with an airtight, inert chamber. The DeSpray can be loaded by one person working alone; the only pre-sorting necessary is removal of large metal and unwanted foreign objects.
  2. Cans are compressed under vacuum into dry, metal bricks for recycling. The cans’ liquid and gas contents are extracted and transferred into collection tanks for further processing. Closed-loop electronics monitor to ensure that no oxygen is present in the process chamber, which eliminates the possibility of explosions.
  3. Vacuum and compression technologies capture and separate the liquid waste products and gas propellants, which can then be reused as alternative fuels. Mechanical safety gas “over-pressure” relief valves are installed in all gas lines and components.
  4. Patented technologies further compress gas propellants into purified liquid fuels, similar to liquid petroleum gas. DeSpray’s proprietary system transforms these gases into liquid gas form using the most efficient method possible.

MacKay estimates since its creation in 1998, the technology has recycled more than 560 million aerosol cans. Currently, there are approximately 15 Despray Environmental machines in use around the world with the six more on order.

It has been estimated that over 15 Billion aerosol spray cans are introduced into the environment each and every year.

Besides the honour of the international award and global recognition, McKay received $1,000 U.S.