Leftover Paint?

leftover paints

Leftover Paint?

Your paint project is done, and you find yourself with leftover paint. What can you do with it? Let’s start with the fact that paint contains hazardous elements that could potentially leak and cause harm. It’s important to consider what to do with leftover paint carefully.

Below are tips for the proper handling and disposal of leftover paint.

Store Paint:

It’s always a good idea to keep some leftover paint on hand for touch-ups. One idea is to transfer any small quantity of remaining paint into well-labeled glass mason jars. Be sure to include manufacturer (for example, Benjamin Moore), paint number, name, and even the year. Store it in a cool, dark location without extreme temperatures.

Recycle Paint:

  • You can be environmentally friendly with leftover paint by recycling it!
  • Keep some on hand to reuse for craft projects.
  • Many nonprofits welcome leftover paint for their own paint needs. Ask around in your community.
  • Look for a hazardous waste drop-off facility in your area at Earth911.com.

Proper Disposal:

If recycling the paint isn’t possible, here are some tips for paint disposal. Always check your community for any restrictions on paint disposal. Keep in mind that those rules are there for your protection and environmental safety.

  • Latex paint: If you have a small quantity of paint leftover, you can let it air dry by leaving the lid off. (If it’s a larger quantity we address that next). Keep the open can of drying paint away from children and pets! Once it has hardened, check if your local metal recycling programs will accept it. The other option is to dispose of the dried out paint in the garbage, assuming it’s not against community rules. If you have more than an inch deep of paint, use an absorbent material, such as kitty litter or paper, to absorb it. Then dispose of the dried out paint as we indicated above. You can recycle the empty can.
  • Alkyd or solvent-based paints: These kinds of paint present specific hazards, including that they are ignitable. Correct disposal is critical to safety as well as respectful of the environment. Never pour these types of paints down drains, storm sewers, or onto the ground! You should dispose of these paints using a community hazardous waste collection program. Contact your local city, county, or the Environmental Protection Agency for detailed instructions!
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