I had to learn the hard way that disposing of paint is more difficult than picking a paint color, prepping and painting a room, or any other job normally associated with paint. Traditional paint is actually awful for the environment and therefore, it must be disposed of carefully.
Paint is basically made up of four components: Resin, Solvents, Additives, and Pigments. There are metals in the pigments and petroleum in the solvents. These are the aspects of paint that are the most dangerous to the environment. If paint is disposed of improperly, it can harm animals, food supplies, and destroy materials that could have been otherwise recyclable. On top of that, some of the solvents in oil paint are very flammable and can be toxic if they end up being inhaled.
So what can you do to make sure you get rid of your paint the right way?
- BUY WHAT YOU NEED. Many people over estimate exactly how much paint that they need. Be realistic with your purchases and that will save your trouble later.
- USE WHAT YOU HAVE. If you made the mistake of over estimating, then use what's left! Find things around the house to paint or just give your wall a second or third coat. It's better to have it put to use than sitting around.
- GIVE IT AWAY. Lots of people would actually rather use a paint that's used - for free - than worry about buying a new can. Call neighbors, family, and friends and see if anyone is in need of paint.
- KNOW YOUR STATE'S LAWS. Every state has different laws regarding paint disposal. Some states require that they be dropped off at a special Hazardous Waste location while other states prefer that you dry up your paint and then dispose of it with your ordinary trash. Make sure you know which disposal method your state works best with.
And, of course, you can always choose to buy paints that are less volatile toward the environment; VOC paint.