you look in almost any homeownerís garage, youíll
probably find a half-empty paint can or two. We know we
canít pour the leftover paint down the drain ó which
would contaminate the water treatment systems ó and we
canít toss it in the trash without risking
environmental damage and potential harm to the
sanitation workers. So how do we get rid of old paint?
paint cans to a drop-off site
some time locating your nearest hazardous waste
facility, and see if they accept paint. Or mark your
calendar for any community "roundup" days,
when temporary sites are set up for collection.
states, such as California, Connecticut, Oregon and
Vermont, have paint stewardship laws that allow paint
retailers to accept leftovers. The stores take leftover
paint during regular business hours, making paint
recycling and disposal much more convenient and safe.
Similar legislation is expected to pass soon in
Minnesota, Rhode Island and Maine.
it dry out
thereís less than a half-inch of paint left, take the
lid off and let it dry out until it becomes hard. Make
sure to keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
"Then itís OK to throw away in the trash,"
says Greg Mrakich, owner of Greg Mrakich Painting in
California, where tossing paint is illegal, residents
need to take leftovers to a paint retailer or hazardous
waste drop-off. Also, donít try this with oil-based
paints ó too many fumes!
paint in kitty litter
thereís more than a half-inch of latex paint left in
the can, stir in cat litter or a paint-hardener compound
you can purchase from the hardware store. After you mix
it in, let it sit in the open for a day and dry out.
Then itís OK to toss it in the trash.
local charities will want some of your good, leftover
paints," says Joshua Abramson, chief solutionist
for A Allbright Painting in Valencia, Calif.
"Especially whites and off-white colors."
option for homeowners working with a painting contractor
involves a little sweet-talking. "Ask nicely if he
or she could clean out your paint locker at the end of
the project!" says Michael Chism, president of
highly rated Chism Brothers Painting in San Diego.