"Goodbye, old Paint I'm a-leaving Cheyenne; Goodbye, old Paint,
I'm a leaving Cheyenne"
(ok so no one else remembers that ditty but me)
No, not that kind of Old Paint.
This kind of paint
image [ Green County Environmental Svcs]
This is one of those things we should all know and we may know some, but at times we get lazy or confused and don't do the right thing. So with that in mind, I did a little research, consolidated info from different sites, simplified it and added my 2 cents.
Every year in the United States, homeowners throw out 64 million gallons of paint. That's enough pint to paint 3,878,788 miles of highway stripes; it's enough paint o paint 16 solid highway stripes from the Earth to the Moon. It's also enough to fill 128 Olympic swimming pools every year.
Before you dispose of old paint, you'll need to determine what kind of paint it is. There are basically two types of paint: oil-based and latex. They have different ingredients and must be handled differently.Oil-based paints are considered Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) and are not suitable for reuse after long storage. The label of an oil-based paint will say "oil-based" or "alkyd," or it will instruct you to clean brushes with mineral spirits or turpentine. Paints of this type are flammable, toxic and contain harmful solvents, resins and pigments; very old oil-based paints (1978 and before) may also contain lead. For these reasons, oil-based paints must be taken to disposal facilities that accept HHW. Many communities simplify this by holding annual or semi-annual HHW collection days.
Latex or water-based paint, is not a hazardous waste, and can enjoy many reincarnations after its initial use. Latex paints clean up with soap and water.
Before 1990, about 30 percent of latex paints contained mercury and many exterior latex paints still do. For this and other reasons, latex paints must not be disposed of in liquid form.
Specifically do not:
pour latex paint into storm drains, onto the ground,
or into creeks, streams or rivers
put cans of liquid paint out for regular trash pick up
try to burn paint
Local organizations would be happy to accept your left-over paint. Art teachers, summer camps, and non-profit organizations such as Scouting, 4-H, Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army can use a potpourri of paint colors for murals, activities, service projects and to spruce up donated items. Leftover paint can be used as a primer for new projects.
High school or community theatre groups can use it for stage sets.
It takes a phone call or two to find a way to donate the paint.
Recycling your old paint might be another option. 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 re-purpose 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 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, 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 goes in the trash when the paint dries and the cans are recycled.
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I am so grateful to all of you who link and who follow Genesis. It all helps the planet.