A common sight at cafes, home kitchens & restaurants these days is an impressive collection of empty whipped cream chargers/nangs . Oftentimes, when people have used the nitrous oxide inside the canisters, they seem to forget all about the existence of bins!
A question that always comes up with my mates when we’re whipping lots of cream is can we recycle these things? After all, when they do make it into the bin, it would be a shame for them to end up in a landfill.
What Is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, nitrous, or nos, is a compound with a variety of medical, culinary, and automotive uses. The colourless, odourless gas has been in medical use since the early 19th century to provide weak general anaesthesia when undergoing painful procedures. And it’s still in use today! In an ambulance or on the dentist’s chair, you may just be offered a dose to ease your pain.
Nitrous oxide can also be used as a component in rocket propellants, as well as in car racing to increase the power output of engines. One thing to bear in mind, though, is the liquid nitrous oxide used specifically for engines almost always has a small amount of sulphur dioxide added to it to prevent abuse. This means you definitely don’t want it getting into your whipped cream, and should use only food-grade nitrous when you start whipping!
What Are Whipped Cream Chargers Made Out Of?
A whipped cream charger, or nang, is most commonly made out of thinly rolled steel and comprises a bulbous end and a narrower dispensing end. The most common-sized chargers are about 6cm long and 1.8cm wide, with 2mm thick walls.
The most common chargers contain 8 grams of nitrous oxide and create a pressure of 30 pounds per square inch when they are discharged. Alongside this, the charger itself becomes freezing cold upon discharge and so chefs must be careful not to touch the chargers directly in order to avoid freeze burns and frostbite.
What Can You Use Nangs For?
Nangs, or whipped cream chargers, can be used for a whole variety of different purposes.
Food-grade nitrous oxide chargers (nangs) can be used in hundreds of different recipes and create some really cool effects. Once you get the hang of the main processes involved, your creativity is the only limit!
Whipped cream is the obvious first choice – or really whipped anything! Nangs can infuse pretty much any liquid with sufficient fat in it into a velvety smooth and voluminous whip. This can come in really handy if you’re trying to be creative with dessert or drink toppings.
Another super popular use is to create foams for food or drinks, especially cocktails! Food-grade nitrous oxide itself is pretty tasteless, bordering on sweet, so whether your creation is savoury or sweet really doesn’t limit your options.
How To Dispose of Empty Whipped Cream Chargers
The good news is that the disposable nangs you may often see around are 100% recyclable where steel recycling is available. In practical terms, this is a big yes for all Aussies as 94% of Australians are able to recycle steel through their recycling bin at home.
If recycling facilities are definitely not available, even collecting the empty chargers to be used in an arts and crafts project at home would be a lot better than sending them to a landfill!
Hopefully, as this message spreads, we’ll begin to see a lot less littering by budding whipped cream chefs all across the country.
Are Whipped Cream Chargers Recyclable?
Yes! Most recycling schemes will accept steel right alongside all your other recycling. Steel is also infinitely recyclable, so you’d really be helping out the planet by making a stand against the landfill.
Recycling nangs is a really good idea, but bear in mind that they absolutely must be empty before recycling! When sent to landfills, steel can take up to 200 years to completely decompose, and it also wastes all of the effort and resources that went into producing it. Steel is made from non-renewable mineral deposits and large amounts of energy are used to transform these raw materials into the finished steel.
If the environment is something you are conscious about as a consumer, you could even try to cut down the use of nangs, as nitrous oxide itself is a greenhouse gas and is said by some to contribute to global warming.
Are All Types of Nang Recyclable?
The three most common sizes are the 8g, the 16g, and the 580g nitrous oxide canister. As long as they are made entirely of steel, they are all just as recyclable. But you absolutely must make sure that they are empty.
Putting compressed gases into your recycling could cause injuries, fires, or other mayhem down the road and land you in a lot of trouble!
What Are the Benefits of Recycling Steel?
You can make a big difference by diverting your empty steel nangs into the recycling centre rather than a landfill. According to Logan City Council, each Australian sends roughly 3.5kg of steel to landfills each year on average. Across the whole country, that’s enough to make 40,000 fridges!
Using recycled steel instead of virgin steel to produce something can save up to 75% of the energy needed, reduce air emissions by 86%, and reduce water pollution by 76%.
Don’t forget, if you’re in need of some fresh nangs or whipped cream chargers, we have a wide selection, great prices, and great service, including fast deliveries!