PAINT DISPOSAL

GUIDE

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

 

As with any potentially hazardous household waste, properly disposing of paint is important to protect our environment. Most paints contain petroleum products, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and other potentially toxic materials.

 

When poured down a household drain, storm drain, or onto the ground, paint eventually ends up in our rivers, marshes, and ocean, where it can be harmful to wildlife, fisheries, and human health. Pouring unused paint down household drains also causes sewage treatment to be less effective and more expensive by disrupting the microbes used in the process.

When liquid paint is disposed of in the trash, it often ends up spilling during transportation or disposal, creating a mess, contaminating potentially recyclable materials, and ending up spilling out into the environment.

By properly disposing of your unused paint you can help to protect our environment and water resources.

EACH KIND IS DIFFERENT

 

While it's true that no paint should be dumped down the drain, the correct way to dispose of it depends on what kind of paint it is.  

Each kind of paint-- latex paint, oil paint, and spray-paint-- should be dealt with differently. 

commercial paint disposal

 

Looking for an easy solution?  Disposal of latex and oil-based paints is available by pick-up through Atlanta Paint Disposal or drop-off at the Chatham Paint for around $5 per gallon.

LATEX PAINT

LATEX PAINT WILL BE LABELED AS 'LATEX' OR 'WATER-BASED', OR WILL LIST WATER AS AN INGREDIENT 

Latex paint is water-based, and can be cleaned with soapy water. When it is in solid form, it is not considered hazardous waste. So the best way to dispose of latex paint is by drying it completely, then putting it in the trash. 

If there is only an inch or two of paint left in the can, it can be easily dried by leaving the can uncovered. 

Mix equal parts unused paint and kitty litter together, and stir till it is an oatmeal like consistency. Leave the can uncovered for at least one hour to dry. 

Use a commercial paint hardener such as Homax (sold as at most hardware or home improvement stores for $2) and follow product directions.

For larger quantities of paint, line a plastic tub well with trash bags or plastic sheeting and pour in 1-2 inches deep layers paint, allow the paint to dry one layer at a time.

When leaving paint uncovered to dry, be sure to store it somewhere safe, well ventilated, and out of the way where it won't spill and kids or animals will not be able to reach it.

OIL BASED PAINT

OIL-BASED PAINT WILL BE LABELED AS 'OIL-BASED', WILL INCLUDE OIL AS AN INGREDIENT, INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLEANUP WITH A SOLVENT OR PAINT THINNER, AND WILL HAVE A FLAMMABLE WARNING LABEL.

Due to its flammability, oil-based paint is considered a hazardous material in any form (solid, liquid, or vapor. Oil-based paints must be disposed of using commercial paint disposal such as Atlanta Paint Disposal, or through household hazardous waste collection days.

Drying oil-based paint prior to proper household hazardous waste disposal can be helpful. If there is only an inch or two of paint left in the can, it can be easily dried by leaving the can uncovered. For larger quantities, mix equal parts unused paint and kitty litter together, and stir till it is an oatmeal like consistency. Leave the can uncovered for at least one hour to dry. 

When leaving paint uncovered to dry, be sure to store it somewhere safe, well ventilated, and out of the way where it won't spill and kids or animals will not be able to reach it.

spray paint

Spray paint cans are highly pressurized and can explode with heat or pressure, so they cannot be disposed of in the household trash unless they are empty. 

To empty spray paint cans, lay out cardboard  in a well ventilated area and spray the paint onto them until the can is completely empty. Let the paint on the cardboard dry completely, then dispose of the empty spray paint can and cardboard in the household trash.

is your paint in good condition?

 

If your paint is in good condition-- not dried or separated-- you may be able to donate it! 

      Find a neighbor or friend who can use it. Post on social media, online neighborhood forums, or with a flier listing what paint you have.

      If you have unopened latex paint, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore may accept it.

      Starlandia Supply accepts donations of all kinds of paints, including latex, oil-based and spray paint.