Unwanted or unusable latex paint seems to be everywhere. Many of us inherit a less-than-desirable collection of it when we buy a house–leftovers from the previous owners.
The good news is latex paint is non-toxic and doesn’t require any special disposal (so please don’t bring it to Tox-Away Day…doing so slows down the line & increases the District’s cost to provide the events…). Once it’s been dried out, local trash haulers will pick it up with your normal household trash.
But, there is a better way! Avoiding the need to dispose of that paint is a much better option. So, here are some quick tips to help you do just that.
- BUY IT RIGHT–the best way to avoid having leftover paint you don’t want is to buy the correct amount to begin with. Consult an online paint calculator or ask the representative at the paint counter for help figuring what you’ll need.
- STORE IT RIGHT–extreme temperatures will ruin paint! If possible, store paint in an interior closet. Be sure the lids are on tightly. You can even store the cans upside down and allow the paint itself to form an airtight seal against the lid.
- USE IT UP–before throwing paint away you no longer want, consider giving it another life. Maybe a neighbor or non-profit can use it (Habitat ReStore in Avon will accept usable latex paint in full or nearly full containers. They also sell a line of recycled paint–it’s good stuff at a very good price!). Or, perhaps it would make a perfect primer for your next painting project.
If you must throw some paint away, simply add sand or clay-based cat litter to the paint until there are equal parts of absorbent and paint. Stir until well mixed. Place the uncovered container in a well-ventilated area until the mixture hardens. Then dispose of the uncovered container with your regular trash (leaving the containers uncovered lets your trash hauler know that the paint has been hardened). TIP: when drying paint from a container that is more than half full, line a sturdy cardboard box with a garbage bag. Alternate between pouring absorbent and paint into the lined box until the paint container is empty. Stir until mixed and let it harden. Click to watch our Latex Paint Drying Video Demonstration .
Oil-based paints, stains, varnishes, lacquers, etc. should be disposed of at a Tox-Away Day. We accept these (and many other materials) free-of-charge at the events.