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Disposal of Liquid Paints

Nice sunny day by the pool!?
Nice sunny day by the pool!?

So you look up how to dispose of the old interior or exterior paint you have lying around and find “Dispose in accordance with all the government’s safety and health regulations”. Not all that helpful, right? Well having been disposing of hazardous waste for a governmental super fund site, allow me to shed some light on a two practical approaches to dispose of paint properly.

We all have a responsibility to our fellow human who is sharing this planet. No, I am not going to go “tree-hugger” on you, but it is good stewardship and protection of our natural resources. Understand the hazardous substances we are dealing with will cause life-long health problems, even death if not disposed of properly. So, DO NOT POUR PAINT OUT ON THE GROUND OR DOWN THE GUTTER!!!

There are two safe methods of disposing of paint: one is turning the liquid into a solid and second is to use the hazardous waste disposal facility. Liquid paint is considered a hazardous waste, but if it is dried out it is no longer considered hazardous because it cannot get into the ground water. Disposal facilities usually charge something ($) for you to drop off hazardous waste. So the standard is any liquid paint disposed of improperly is finable – make sure it is good and dry.

So how do you dry liquid paint you ask? Plastic kiddy pools work well as a drying area. Just make sure it is elevated so kids and pets cannot crawl in. Summer works best to do this, when it hot and dry. Oh and keep your layers thin; a thick layer takes much longer to dry. Once the paint is dry you can set it out for your waste technician (trash guy).

A word of caution here is to determine what kind of paint you own. There are generally two kinds of paints homeowners use; latex and solvent based paints. Latex (or acrylics) is known as water based paints. The solvent based materials which have that strong odor and have a flammable component are more dangerous. The other type which you may not see around very often is lead based paints because they were banded from the homeowner market back in 1979 need special attention.

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