Once in a while, people feel the need to change up their rooms, and what better way to do that than painting? It is a fun way to switch up the look of your room from boring to fascinating.
It is very easy to get paint and create the design of your choice, but what happens after you are done with it? You often end up not using even half of it, and you need to throw it away. This is seemingly easy part is not so easy!
Leftover paint can be quite harmful because it contains materials that can cause severe physical health injuries to your neighbors, sanitation workers, and yourself. It can also contaminate septic tanks, so you need to be extremely careful when disposing of it.
How do you get rid of old unwanted paint?
If your reason for disposing of your leftover paint is because you want to get a fresh one to repaint your room, it is advisable first to confirm that your paint has indeed gone bad.
According to this source, once the lid of the can is opened, the paint might have a rancid or foul smell. Some companies will also specify the best period of time to use up their paint.
Once you have crosschecked, there are some things you have to put into consideration before disposing of your paint. Different kinds of paint require different methods of disposal. While all paint is hazardous, some are more toxic than others.
Let’s have a look at the two common types; Oil-based paint and Latex paint.
Latex Or Water Based Paint
On a toxicity scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being very toxic, latex paints are around 4 – 5. They have a light odor, are easy to apply, dry faster, are durable, and flexible.
Throwing paint away is not the same as throwing away your regular household trash bag. You can’t just take the can and dump it at the back of the garbage truck, neither can you sneak it inside the trash bag because it is a criminal offense.
Every state or country has its laws regarding paint disposal. Check your local government’s office for yours. Below are other methods of disposing of latex paint:
- Dry it up
It is hazardous to throw away wet latex paint, so the best thing to do is dry it off. If the amount left in the can is not much or barely reaches a quarter of the can, you can go ahead and leave it out in the sun to dry. Being a water-based paint, it will dry quickly.
- Use kitty litter
If what’s left is up to or more than half of the can, use cat litter to soak it up and speed up the drying process. When the cat litter has soaked up enough, scoop it out and dry off the remaining paint.
If you can’t find cat litter or it’s too expensive for you, opt for an old newspaper instead.
- Use a paint hardener
Paint hardeners like the popular Homax hardener, are substances used to solidify paint for easy and safe disposal. They usually come in packets, and one can be used to solidify up to 1 gallon of paint. They are more suitable for larger amounts of paint.
There are various ones in the market now that you can easily buy. Each company has its usage instructions, but generally, you need to add water to the mixture to activate the hardener.
Let it sit for 30 minutes for it to harden completely before throwing it away.
Oil-based paint is also considered a hazardous waste, with them being a staggering 10 on the toxicity scale. Unlike latex paints, they have a strong odor and take a more extended period of time to dry because of their solvents.
They can also be left to dry out in the sun if there’s less than 1 inch of paint left in the can, but when there’s more, it becomes even more dangerous to the people and the environment because of the fumes.
Here’s how to dispose of oil-based paint:
- Let the professionals handle it
If you feel too lazy or busy to go through the trouble of drying it out in the sun or using the cat litter, go ahead, and call the professionals.
You won’t have to struggle with carrying heavy paint cans to a hazardous waste disposal site. Simply grab your phone and call these companies and have them pick it up for you. You might have to call ahead of time because some of them have specific days for carrying out specific things.
If the company can’t send a pick-up truck, there are loaders who can drop it off for you.
- Donate it
If your paint is still good, and you have nothing else to use it for, you can give it to someone else instead of throwing it away.
You can give to neighboring schools or creative groups in your area. There are also donation sites that you can upload it on. You never know which artist might need the kind of paint you have.
It could also be a student who wants to remodel their room without spending a lot of money.
Now that you are aware of how to safely dispose of paint safely, you need some extra safety tips when handling paint.
- Always wear gloves
Some paint mixtures cause allergic reactions to your skin. Not all paint is made equal, so you need to be careful. Some paint might have been made with subgrade materials that may or may not be fatal.
- Put on nose masks
If you know you will be around the paint for a long time, especially oil-based ones, a nose mask will protect you from the fumes. They tend to get harsher the more time you spend around them or leave them in the sun.
Inhaling those fumes can lead to dizzy spells, headache, nausea, irritation in the eyes, nose, or throat. Sometimes it may lead to more serious ailments like asthma and loss of vision.