Partially full cans of paints should be disposed of properly after painting the home.
Dumping the paint down the sink or throwing it in the trash can is dangerous. This is NOT the right way to dispose of the paint.
Most paints contain toxic substances that can be hazardous to the environment and health.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you dispose of the paints in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Read the tips below to find out the proper way of disposing of different types of paints.
Disposing Oil-Based Paints
Oil-based paints are considered hazardous to the environment. Moreover, these paints are dangerous due to their high flammability.
The paint must not be put in the trash can for disposal.
Here are some tips for the disposal of oil-based paint in a safe and eco-friendly manner.
Contact Environmental Protection Agency
Contact your local environmental protection agency to know about the correct method of disposing of solvent-based paints.
You should ask about the recycling facility in your area. Consider visiting Earth911.com to look for a hazardous waste disposal company in your area.
Re-Use the Paint
Paint can remain intact for up to a year after opening the lid.
You can re-use the paint for later projects. The color won’t be the same as before, but the paint can be useful for small projects outside the home.
In this way, you can use the paint again without disposing of the paint can.
When storing the paint for later use, you should seal the paint properly. Consider wiping the grooves using a clean rag.
You can also use a rubber mallet for securing the lid. In case you don’t have a mallet, you can use a piece of wood to gently close the lid.
Don’t use a hammer as it can distort the lid. This will make it difficult to seal the paint can securely.
Donate the Paint
Another way you can avoid disposing of the paint is to donate partially full cans.
Consider donating leftover paint to a theatrical company, association, or religious institution.
You can donate the paint to any organization that needs free paint for a project.
Contact Local Community Resources
Certain communities also provide a paint exchange program. You can exchange leftover paint for some money.
Many communities also recycle paint to avoid environmental damage.
Consider visiting the PaintCare website to find out more about paint recycling and collection programs in your area.
Also read: How to Dispose of Stain Rags?
Disposing Latex Paints
Latex paints are less hazardous as compared to oil-based paints. But the resins and additives used in the paint make it toxic to the environment.
That’s why you should take proper care when disposing of the paint.
However, disposing of latex paint is easier as compared to disposing of solvent-based paints.
The paints can be stored and recycled with significantly less environmental damage as compared to oil-based paints.
Harden the Paint
Latex paint is not dangerous in solid form. You can harden to paint for safe disposal. This is the recommended method if more than half of the paint is left in the can.
To harden the paint, you can use a commercial paint hardener available from Amazon.
Follow the instructions in mixing the commercial hardener with paint. Leave the hardener in the can for a specified time.
The mixture will turn as hard as a rock. You can then safely throw away the hardened paint in the trash can.
You can also add a cat litter to harden the paint. Consider transferring the paint in large cardboard or plastic paint and combine with cat litter. The mixture will harden in just 10 minutes. You can add more cat litter if the mixture remains soft.
You can also use scrap paper, shredded paper, or sawdust instead of cat litter. Leave the hardened mixture for about an hour before disposal. The hardened paint can be thrown in the trash can when dried properly.
Air Dry the Paint
You should air-dry the latex paint if a little is left after a painting job.
Just open the lid of the paint to air dry paint. The paint will dry on its own when kept in the open. But make sure that the can is kept away from pets and children.
Disposing Aerosol Paints
Spray paints are contained in pressurized cans. The cans can explode if not stored and disposed of properly.
The paints cannot be re-used and should be completely emptied when discarding.
You need to take proper precautions when discarding the paints to avoid harm to the environment.
Empty the Spray Paint
Before discarding the spray paint, make sure that it’s empty. You should shake the can to see if it’s empty. You can also empty the can by spraying.
Continue to spray the paint until you hear a hissing sound that shows that the can is empty.
You can spread the paint on a sheet of old cloth or newspaper to empty the can.
Send to a Recycling Facility
Aerosol paints contain hazardous substances with one more noxious characteristic. So, you should never throw an aerosol can into a garbage can.
Consider emptying the spray and sending it to a recycling facility.
Once the spray paint is empty, you can send the can to a recycling facility for disposal.
Disposing Industrial Paints
Industrial paints are different than residential paints. Look at the label of the leftover drums to find if the paint contains epoxy, acrylic, polyester, polytetrafluoroethylene, or polyurethane.
These are toxic compounds that cause serious environmental damage.
Proper disposal is important for industrial paints. The paints should be disposed of properly using the EPA guidelines.
Consider contacting a hazardous waste disposal facility near your area.
The safe disposal of industrial paints is important to avoid environmental damage. Industrial paints contain significantly more harmful compounds as compared to residential paints.
They require special consideration and care to ensure safe disposal.
Disposing Natural Paints
Natural paints are made of biodegradable materials. The paints can be made of minerals, milk, clay, or any plant-based material.
You can know whether the paint contains natural components by looking at the label. Find out if the label says that the paint is biodegradable.
You can safely pour leftover natural-based paints down the drain. Just make sure to use lots of water and soap to avoid a clog. The paint can also be thrown in the ground or garbage can.
Alternatively, you can let natural paints dry out by keeping the lid off for a couple of days. Afterward, you can pour the paint down the drain.
This is the correct method for disposing of natural-based paint if you have a septic system or sensitive pipes.
Mistakes to Avoid When Disposing of Paints
Paints are considered toxic in most states.
You can’t just throw the paint cans in the bin. Depending on where you live, you can be fined for the unsafe disposal of paint.
Here are some mistakes that you should avoid when disposing of the paint.
Disposing of in the Sink or Drain
A lot of people dispose of the paint in the sink. This is a harmful practice that results in damage to the drainage system over time.
Paint can corrode the plumbing resulting in a leak.
Moreover, the paint may collect in the drainage and release toxic fumes through the drainage.
Paint disposed of in the sink or toilet may also enter the municipal sewer system. The toxic water may destroy the bacteria that decompose waste matter.
This will result in toxic water being released into the groundwater and rivers.
Throwing Away the Paint in a Garbage Can
You should also not throw liquid paint in a garbage can.
The paint containing toxic compounds can end up in landfills and seep to the ground. This can result in the pollution of the groundwater.
You can air dry or harden the paint before disposing of latex paint. Oil-based paint should never be disposed of by throwing it in the garbage bin.
Puncturing the Aerosol Paint
Some people puncture the aerosol paint to empty the can before disposal. They may use a screwdriver to puncture the can if the nozzle becomes damaged.
But puncturing the can particularly when there is no or little paint increases the risk of an explosion.
You should never attempt to puncture an aerosol can to avoid the risk of an injury.
Contact a local paint disposal company that provides aerosol disposal services for safe disposal of the can.
Throwing Liquid Paint in the Garbage
You should never throw liquid paint in the garbage can.
This practice is illegal and harmful to the environment. Liquid paint contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are detrimental when released in the environment.
Everyone has the responsibility to keep the environment safe.
Safe disposal of paints is important since they contain substances that are harmful to the environment.
You should follow the safe practices mentioned in this blog to minimize pollution.
You need to dispose of paints in a responsible manner. Contact your local municipal waste management office for more information on how to safely dispose of paints.
Taking the extra steps in the safe disposal of paints will avoid a detrimental effect on our environment.
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