Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What to Do with Latex Paint

A blog reader recently asked about how to recycle latex paint. I assumed it fell under the normal Household Hazardous Waste Program, but apparently things have changed and, at least where I live, latex paint is no longer considered a hazardous material.

paint canImage by House Of Sims via Flickr

Still, it is made of chemicals which would be better off not seeping into the ground or water, so what do you do? I got my answers from an informative flyer put out by Charlevoix County in Michigan.

The short story is:
  • If it's over 20 years old, it is lead based and should be handled through your local hazardous waste program.
  • If the paint can is already dry, you can simply toss it in the garbage.
  • If there is still a small amount of paint, take the lid off and let it dry before you throw the can in the garbage.
  • If you have a lot of paint, you need to find a way to dry it yourself. The recommended way is to get a box or other container that you can line with plastic (the larger the surface area, the quicker it will dry). Pour in about an inch of paint and wait for it to dry. Repeat the process until your done, making certain that it isn't somewhere that kids or pets can get into while the drying process takes place. Adding dry kitty litter to the paint can speed up the drying process.

The latter option will definitely be time-consuming, which is a good reminder to not over-buy next time you're painting.

I'll keep that in mind when we're painting my son's room this summer. He seems to have outgrown the pastel walls, but we haven't yet agreed on a new palette. His favorite colors are red, black, and metallic gold. I'm open-minded, but can't imagine any of those colors on the walls!

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