The new system, which has been developed at Veolia’s Empire facility in Birmingham, will prevent the discharge of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas which has nearly 300 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

The process involves the separation of the nitrogen and oxygen components so that the gases can be ‘safely vented in proportion to relative volumes already in the atmosphere’.

The steel canisters are then recycled.

The director of hazardous waste at Veolia UK, Nicola Henshaw, said: ‘The new treatment process for commercial nitrous oxide canisters represents a real step forward in how the industry can stop the discharge of this potent greenhouse gas which causes the destruction of the ozone layer.

‘By safely treating the gas, and breaking it down into its atmospheric elements, we can limit the environmental impact, and return metals for recycling.’

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