How to Dispose of old Paint

Methods to Dispose of Old Paint Properly

Painting a house is a great way to give it a new look and a new feel. It’s always exciting to choose from a range of colors and decorate your place. For artists, painting their artwork can give it those from finishing touches and beautiful gloss. While there are many uses of paint, it is usually also a cause of a bit of worry for all of us. More often than not, you will be done with your project and have some paint leftover. And if this is not required, then you need to know of the safe disposal ways for paints to ensure you don’t end up hurting someone or the environment either. Paint often contains harmful chemicals, which can lead to water or land pollution and even cause severe harm to someone who comes in extended contact with fumes of paint. So, in this article, we will look at some ways to dispose of old paint safely.

Steps to Dispose of Old Paint Safely

If storage or recycle or reuse is not an option, then you need to start with the following steps for safe disposal of old paint:

  1. Identify what type of paint you have.
  2. Note the date of opening of the can.

There are various types of paints available in the market depending on what you want to use it for. There are latex paints, oil based paints and even spray paints. For each, there is a different disposal method. Disposal method of spray paint is different than the disposal method of oil based paint and the disposal method of latex paints. This is due to the basic content of the paint being so different than each other. Oil based paints have natural or synthetic oils as their base. So when it comes to disposing oil based paints, you need to consider the risks that arise from the oil base. For latex paints, the base is water. Hence, while disposing latex paints, the potential risks are different than in the case of oil based paint. Thus, first step in disposing old paint would be to identify what kind of paint are you dealing with. You can find all the information about the paint on the can.

Also, always note the date when the can was last opened. This helps you in keeping track of the paint’s life. We will now take the disposal techniques for different types of paints individually.

How to Dispose of Latex Paint

Latex paint is water based and hence it is not naturally as hazardous as oil based paints. But the colour resins and additives used in latex paints make it poisonous enough to be poisonous if consumed and damage the soil if disposed without care. The steps to dispose latex paints is much simpler than the rest types of paints. It can also be recycled and even stored much easily. But if you want to dispose latex paint, then you need to do the following things as a safe method of disposing old paint:

Harden the Paint

If there is only a small amount of paint left in the can, you can just open the lid and keep it in the open. The paint will harden on its own. Make sure that the can is always kept away from the reach of children and pets.

If there is a significant amount of paint left in the can, then check if it has gone bad. Old paint will harden at the bottom of the can and has a very foul smell. You can also paint a small coat on a newspaper and see if comes out rough. If it does, if has gone bad. To harden the paint, add equal amount of cat litter into the can and mix it well. This will harden the paint. There are certain hardening solutions available in the market to do the job.

Throw Away in Garbage

Never dispose paint in the sink or in a ground. The paint can choke up the drainage system and cause unnecessary trouble and damage the soil if disposed in open ground. Hardened paint can be disposed in the garbage bin with the can. The lid of the can must be left open.

How to Dispose of Oil Based Paint

Oil paint disposal needs slightly more care than the disposal of old paint that is latex-based or is spray paint. The base of these paints is either natural oils or synthetic oils. These are mainly used to give a coat of durable paint as they can resist harsh conditions better than latex-based paints. But the contents of oils based paints make it a hazardous waste and dispose of oil-based paints must be done with proper precaution. The process of disposal is similar to latex-based paint.

How to Dispose of Spray Paint

How to Dispose of Spray Paint

Spray paint is a pressurized aerosol can with spray in it. These are usually ready to use paints with minimum efforts required to paint. This makes them a very popular choice amongst those who take up small painting jobs and also for certain art work. If you wish to dispose of spray paint, you need to take precautions about the paint as well as the can. The precautions to be taken while disposing spray paint are the following:

Check if the can is empty

You can shake the can to check if it is empty. Another easy way to do so is to try and spray the paint out. If paint does not come out and the can only make a hissing sound, then it is empty. If it is not, then you need to empty the can. You can spread an old newspaper or a sheet of waste cloth to dispose of paint.

Do not pierce the can

The aerosol cans are pressurized and can explode if you try to pierce them.

Dispose of the can

If the can is empty, it can be either sent for recycling or disposed of. But remember, the can is pressurized and should not be thrown directly into the garbage if not empty. It can explode and cause injury or damage. You should take it to the waste disposal center or if it not hazardous, then you can dispose of it in the garbage.

Spray cans are recyclable and that should be given priority when you dispose of spray paint.

After methods of disposal,

Look at Certain Methods as Alternatives

Store Paint for Reuse Purpose

Paints have a good shelf life usually. Latex paints can be good for upto 10 years and oil based paints can be good for upto 15 years. So, if you have some amount of paint leftover, you can store it properly for another use. To store any paint properly, make sure it is kept in it’s original container. Never store old paint in a food grade container. Seal the container airtight. Place the container in a dry place and away from direct sunlight. Paints, old or new, should always be kept away from the reach of children and pets. Remember, all paints have certain amount of toxicity. The paint will be good to use for a long time, but it has an end of life period. You can tell if the paint has gone bad by the smell of the paint. If it smells very foul and has formed hard lumps, then it is time to take necessary steps for disposal of old paint.

Donating it to Needy Person

If you are left with some paint that you know you won’t be needing soon enough and you don’t want to store it either, you can try donating it to someone who might regularly be in the need of paint. It is not something that you usually donate, but if you check with some local art school or training institutes, they might gladly accept the paint. You can even check out some online stores where you can list such items at paint recycling center or for reusing. Habitat for Humanities Restores is one such place where you can take your leftover can of paint. When donating cans of paint, make sure you have stored them with proper care and also mention the date of opening and closing the box.

9 thoughts on “Methods to Dispose of Old Paint Properly

  1. Great!! thanks for sharing such good tips on How to Store And Dispose of old Paint Properly.
    old paint is hazardous waste, If abandoned for a while, it is regarded as Hazardous Household Waste (HHW). Even worse, it is inflammable and comprises toxic substances like pigments, resin and sometimes, lead.

    I like the steps you mention safe disposal of old paint.

    Recently we wrote blog on:
    Hope you get some use out of it.

    Once again thanks for sharing the article.

  2. Like most DIYers, you probably have a handful of half-empty, old paint cans stored in the garage or basement from previous paint projects. While storing unused, leftover paint is a great practice, at some point, you may need to dispose of leftover paint properly. Keep reading to find out how.

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