Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Paint the town and then ...

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

Coating your walls with a fresh new color is so exciting! No matter what tones you choose, whether warm, cool, vibrant, exotic, whatever ... when all is said and done and the paintbrushes are washed and put away, we're all faced with the same dilemma, aren't we? What do we do with the leftover paint?

Of course, it's always wise to hang on to some of it for touch ups. But having a garage full of mostly empty gallon paint cans is not an option many of us care for.

Solution? First, pour some of the paint into a smaller container to store it. Brush a bit of paint on the outside, so it is easily identifiable. Stack the containers neatly in a cabinet and close the door. One problem solved ... and a whole lot of room salvaged.

But it's about the gallon cans sitting in the middle of the floor. I mean, how long are they going to stay there?

Admit it. You're tempted to bury them in your trash can in hopes the garbage men don't catch you. Nah. Not an option. Or is it? Well, the good news is, it can be an option, if done correctly.

Latex paint can be thrown away if, and only if, it is solid. That means you have to leave the lid off the paint can for a few days until the paint dries up. Then scrape it out of the can and pitch it.

California is the only state in the US that considers latex paint hazardous waste. So if you're a Californian, check with your local officials for exact instructions on what you should do with your unwanted paint.

Of course, in every state there is the option to donate all your leftover, usable paint to local theater companies, schools or colleges for set design.

Some paint stores will take back unused paint. Call the retailer where you bought the paint and ask them if they have a recycling program. And check around before you buy paint for your next project and only buy from a store that will take back the paint when you're done. And let the stores know that's what you're looking for. And, for goodness sake, try to estimate how much you'll actually need for your project. Overbuying is one of the problems.

There are collection sites in municipalities across the country where they take paint and hazardous household waste. You just have to find them. Click here and enter your zipcode to find a paint recycling center near you.

If you have any other ideas about what can be done with leftover paint, please let me know. I love hearing about what you do!

Keeping it out of the landfill, whenever possible,


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