How to Properly Dispose of Paint
Why Bother Properly Disposing of Paint? How to Dispose of Paint the Right Way
The correct way of how to dispose of household paint hasn't been widely advertised. Household paint can cause huge hazards. If simply left inside of a garbage dumpster or truck, there is a huge chance that the paint can leak onto the trash and eventually the roadway. Household paint is also very hard for landfills to dispose of. In actuality, it is the consumers responsibility to safely use leftovers or properly dispose.
To learn how to dispose of paint the right way without negative impacts on the environment, read below for some simple suggestions.
Disposing of Paint
Dipose of latex paint the right way!
To properly dispose of latex paint, the container needs to be completely emptied. To safely do this, you can purchase paint hardener to solidify the paint, or you can even use kitty litter, mulch or shredded paper from your paper shredder. Once the paint has dried, you can easily scoop the paint out. Dried latex paint can be disposed of in the rubbish. Metal paint cans can be disposed of as well, and recycled if empty. Consider using all of the paint before disposing of it, whether it be by touching up or adding an extra coat of paint to your wall. It's easier, more practical, safer, and economical...not to mention you'll be saving space, and yourself the trouble of having to dry the paint!
Intro photo of paint bucket spill art by Photocapy.
Picture of paint bucket House of Sims.
Easy to Use Paint Hardener - Dry it up and harden paint quickly
Paint hardener can come in very handy when disposing of your paint is the only option. Hardening the paint will make it much safer to dispose, and will prevent any toxic spillage onto wildlife, soil, or your home.
Important instructions to dispose of oil based paints
For disposal of oil-based paint, you should bring the paint to a local recycling station. You may want to call before visiting, since they all have different policies on what they do with oil based paint. Oil-based paint is either incinerated or recycled by actually using the paint, or repackaging the paint to give back to customers. All labels must be intact for disposal instructions. Read this to see the required techniques of disposal. Ultimately, it is best for the consumer to use the entire can of paint.
Picture of paint roller by Photocapy.
Low VOC Paint: Benjamin Moore's Aura Line - A healthier alternative to regular high VOC paint
What's VOC? You can read all about the negative effects of VOC here. VOC are volatile organic compounds found in paint, plastics, and other man-made things. When painting your home, using a paint with low VOC is a great idea--it's much healthier, and it's a good selling point of your home.
Benjamin Moore's Aura Line has been certified under the GREENGUARD Standard for Low Emitting Products and the GREENGUARD for Children & SchoolsSM product certification programs.
More about Low Voc Paints.
Using the Leftovers
The best way to dispose of your extra paint!
So you have plenty of leftover paint from your paint project? The first thing you should do is think of other things that may need to be painted. Maybe your garage interior could use a new coat, or your closets? How about an old piece of furniture down in the cellar? You could breathe new life into it with a quick coat of paint! How about the dog house or the tool shed? Since there is no easy way to dispose of paint, it is best to use it up. Here's another idea: donations. Your local school, church, town office, or shelter may be able to use that paint. Ask friends, they may need a fresh coat of paint for something and you could help!
Picture of used paint roller brush Kasia/Flickr.
Hazards of Paint
Why you should take extra care with your paint disposal
Acrylic paint for the most part, is considered not as harmful to the environment. However, animals can ingest acrylic paint causing harm. Therefore, it is very important to dispose of any paint properly. Paint produced before 1992 may contain mercury, and paint from the 1970s or earlier may contain lead. Be extra cautious with these paints.
Picture of used paint cans by Rsgranne.
What Do you Do with your Paint? - Take our poll!
What Would you Do with Leftover Paint?
Buy Just Enough!
The best way to ensure you have absolutely no leftover paint!
A good estimate of how much paint you will need is to measure the square footage of the area. Tape measure the entire area, and multiply the two lengths together to find the square footage. One gallon will roughly cover 400-450 square feet in one coat. By using this estimate, you can purchase paint based on how many coats and walls you need to cover. This should cut down on leftovers. Plan ahead, and have other things in mind to paint if you do have small amounts of leftovers.
Picture of paint can by eMaringolo.
Very old paint may contain lead and mercury which should be disposed of correctly
Paint that's more earth friendly
Buying the right type of paint in the first place may have a number of benefits. For instance, painted walls may have low level emissions years after application. Paint fumes have been linked to headaches and migraines in some cases. Earth-friendly, low emission paints are now available. Not only is it better for humans, but it's better for the outdoors as well! You can try a company that can ship directly to you, like realmilkpaint.com or americanpridepaint.com Check your local paint store to see what variety they may have. Larger stores like Home Depot and Lowe's may not offer the organic variety, so you may want to call your local paint store first.
Remember to buy just enough, use the most you can, donate leftovers, or if absolutely necessary, bring the remainder of your oil-based paint to the recycling station. Acrylic paint can be disposed of through the methods above.
Photo right by fab4chiky.
Green Living - More ways to be kinder to our environment
If you have acrylic paint that needs to be disposed of and you absolutely can't reuse it, dry it in the warm sun outside in safe spot. In warm weather, it will dry within hours.