How to Dispose of Paint the Right Way

Have a lot of old paint and don’t know what to do with it? Here are tips to help you know when it’s time to dispose of it and how.

When repainting your walls or refurbishing old furniture, it’s not easy to estimate the exact amount of paint you will need. Most of the time, you will have excess paints you will need to dispose of and also empty cans. But you can’t just throw empty cans into the garbage for the environment’s sake. Paints should be disposed of properly to prevent contaminating the environment with toxic chemicals. Also, you need to learn that some states or municipalities have rules on how to dispose of paint. Here are tips for disposing of paints correctly.

When to Throw Away Old Paints

Paint doesn’t go bad easily. When stored indoors, in moderate temperatures, latex paint can stay for up to 10 years, while oil-based paints can last up to 15 years. However, you must also ensure its lid stays intact.

Therefore, you can’t just throw away paint without testing whether it’s still usable or bad. To know whether the paint is still in good condition, smell it. If it retains the smell of the paint, keep it, but if it smells awful, it’s time to dispose of it. You can also check if there are dry layers or chunks on the sides of the can or at the bottom. Next, get rid of the top coating and stir the paint. Take a sample, try it on a piece of cardboard, and see if it has its original color and glides on smoothly.

Oil-based-paint

If the paint is in good condition, you can donate it or resale it to schools, community theaters, or Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Call to inquire from the organizations first before taking it there. If you have a lot of good paints, you can sell them online, like on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You can also devise creative ways of using leftover paints on new projects.

Disposing Oil-Based Paint

Oil and alkyd-based paints are dangerous waste. If disposed of inappropriately, they contaminate sources of drinking water. So instead of disposing of them in the normal garbage, inquire about the proper way to throw them from the local authority. Mostly, you can take them to a nearby hazardous waste drop-off site or put them on a curb on the community’s hazardous waste collection day.

Latex-paint

Disposing Latex Paint

Many waste collectors recommend throwing away only solidified latex in the garbage and then taken to the landfill. If a small quantity of latex is left in the can, open it and leave it to dry. You can also pour the latex on a surface covered by newspaper and let it dry, then throw the newspaper with the dried paint and the can into the garbage.

If the paint is much, say a whole can, put cat litter or shredded newspaper into it and stir, then leave it open to dry. When it’s dry, throw it together with the can into the garbage. Also, you can add paint hardener, which is readily available in several home improvement stores. You can add 2/3 of a gallon when it’s dry and dispose of it.

How to Properly Store Paint

Paints

To make latex and oil-based paints stay for long, place a plastic wrap across the top of the can opening and put the lid, and ensure you seal it tightly using a rubber mallet. Store the paint can on a shell at moderate steady temperatures. The can should be upside down for a strong seal.