If you have just finished painting your children's rooms or redecorating some furniture, there's a good chance that you are going to have paint left over. This is important to consider because you cannot just throw the paint away without causing the metal can to rust out and sit in a landfill for many years.
You also cannot flush the excess paint down the drain and then recycle the can because the paint might make it to the local water supply and pollute it, making the water unsafe to drink. Finally, you can't scrape the can free of liquid paint and throw just the paint in the trash because the paint might ooze from the landfill to the water supply.
Here are some tips for making sure that you can get rid of old paint safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.
1. What to Do If You Don't Have a Lot of Paint Left
If you don't have a lot of paint left, meaning if you have less than half an inch of paint left in the can, then you can simply leave the paint can in a warm environment for a few days with its top off. After the can has been left out for a while, the paint will become a dried solid. Using a paint knife, cut out the chunk of paint and wrap it in a paper bag. Then, throw the paper bag in the trash. Use the knife to scrape out any remaining large chunks of paint. Then, recycle the can by taking it to a center that accepts slightly stained paint cans.
2. What to Do If You Have Lots of Paint Left
If you have lots of paint left, then you are going to need to separate the paint into smaller containers, each with less than a half inch of paint. Allow each of these containers to sit out and dry for a few days and then follow the steps outlined in tip number one.
Another option, if you don't have a lot of containers lying around, is to call your local recycling center and see if they would be willing to take your paint. Many recycling centers will have a station where you can dump out your excess paint. The paint will then be mixed together and reused.
For more information about how to safely dispose of your paint, call your local paint supplier, such as Koontz Hardware. They will likely have to deal with similar issues and will have tips to help you out.