Recycling your old paint might be another option. Through partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute, some states have recently passed or are considering legislation to require paint manufacturers to collect left-over residential paint for post-consumer use. Even if this program hasn't reached your state, you can ask your local paint dealer to help you repurpose your excess paint. Start by filtering out solids like thickened paint and brush bristles. Then separate the cans into light colors and dark colors. With the help of your paint professional, light colored paints can be combined and re-tinted to a fresh, new color. Dark paints blend into a brown color. Empty paint cans are recyclable, too, just like food and drink cans.
If all else fails and you must dispose of your old latex paint, turn it into solid waste. If there's less than one-fourth of the paint in the can, take it outside, place it where kids and pets can't get to it, remove the lid and let the paint air dry. When the paint is hard, you can put the cans out with the rest of your trash. You may need to leave the lids off to show your trash collector that the can is safe for collection.
For larger quantities of paint, brush or roll the paint onto layers of newspaper or cardboard. When the paint dries, put the paper in the trash bin. Alternatively, you can pour the paint into a cardboard box and mix it with shredded newspaper, cat litter, or a commercial paint hardener to speed solidification. The box can go in the trash when the paint dries and the cans can be recycled.
Want more tips for making the most of your resources? See the great links below.
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More Great Links
- Carleton, Denise. Environmental educator and co-owner of Reaping Nature Productions. Interview, 06/02/2009.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission. "What You Should Know About Lead Based Paint in Your Home: Safety Alert." CPSC Document #5054. (Accessed 05/28/2009). http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5054.html
- DownEast.com. "White Line Fever." May 1997. (Accessed 05/28/2009). http://www.downeast.com/node/10512
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- Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention. "Storing and Disposing of Paint from Your Home." Ohio EPA. September 2007. (Accessed 05/28/2009). http://www.epa.state.oh.us/ocapp/p2/pdf/HC6web.pdf
- Paints and Coatings Resource Center. "Pollution Prevention." National Center for Manufacturing Sciences. (Accessed 05/25/2009). http://www.paintcenter.org/paint.cfm
- Product Stewardship Institute. "PSI Paint Project -- National Dialogue." Product Stewardship Institute, Inc., 2009. (Accessed 05/25/2009). http://www.productstewardship.us/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=117
- U.S. Department of the Interior. "Catching a Wave: Jet Flow Gate Testing Brings a Crowd." Bureau of Reclamation. Lower Colorado Region. Last Reviewed September 8, 2004. (Accessed 05/28/2009). http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/essays/jetflow.html
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Lead-Based Paint." Toxic Substances Control Act. Updated August 20, 2008. (Accessed 05/28/2009). http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/lsca.html
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Other Products." Wastes -- Partnerships -- Product Stewardship. Updated September 25, 2008. (Accessed 05/25/2009). http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/stewardship/products/other.htm
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