Every week, KALB and our Recycling Center receive phone calls asking how to dispose of leftover paint. Because this is a continuing problem, we are sharing the following information with our readers again.
Some Paint is Hazardous…Some is Not
If any of the following conditions exist, your paint is hazardous and cannot be placed in your trash under any conditions. It must be disposed of at a proper household hazardous waste collection:
• the paint is oil based
• the paint is listed as mildew resistant or a preservative
• the paint is more than 20 years old (it may contain lead)
Many people are surprised to learn that latex or water-based paint is not considered a hazardous waste. Even though it is not considered a hazardous waste, it must never be placed in trash cans in liquid form. Liquid paint can cause a great deal of damage to trash trucks and can make a mess of our roads.
If you are interested in having a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection for Athens-Limestone County residents, please contact your City Councilman or County Commissioner and make your concerns known. HHW includes automobile fluids, pesticides, garden chemicals, and more.
How to Dispose of Latex Paint:
First, never pour paint down a drain. It can be harmful to your pipes and is not good for the water supply. It is also harmful to pour paint onto the ground. Here are safe ways to get rid of leftover latex paint.
Use it up or donate it: Mix light colors together and use as primer on your next paint job or offer it to someone else with a painting project. If you have full or nearly full cans of usable paint, check with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see if they will accept it for resale. When storing paint for future projects, tightly seal the can and store upside down in a cool, dry storage area away from children and pets.
Dry it up: Once latex paint is dry, it is no longer a danger to trash trucks or roadways. Cans that are ¼ full or less can be placed in a safe location with lids off and allowed to dry. Once the paint is completely dry, you can place the can in with recycling. If you have larger amounts of paint, line a cardboard box with a trash bag and place it in a safe location away from children or pets. Pour paint into the box and add a drying agent such as kitty litter, sand, or shredded paper. You may also purchase waste paint hardener which works quickly and easily. Once the paint is completely dry, you can place the trash bag with dry paint into your trash container. You may then recycle the cardboard box and paint can.
We’d love to hear from you if you have additional questions or concerns. If we don’t have the answer, then we will learn together!
By: Lynne Hart