If you hire a professional house painter to paint your home or a commercial painter to paint your business, then you get a bunch of benefits you might not even think about at first. One of the big ones is having all the unused paint and waste hauled away for you so you don’t have to worry about it.

Today’s paint is safer than ever. But you know that when paint is misused, it can be dangerous. Just like most other household chemicals, you can’t just pour it down the drain or toss it out on the curb. It’s crucial to be careful with paint because the fumes can be hazardous, and many paints can be flammable.

So, what should you do if you already did your own DIY home painting project?

Sometimes, people just let old paint accumulate in their shed or, even worse, in their attic. But if you want to keep things neat and organized, you should consider getting rid of old paint. When paint is sealed, it can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, depending on the type, but opened paint doesn’t last nearly as long.

In general:

  • Unopened cans of latex paint stored at room temperature conditions last around ten years.
  • Unopened cans of oil-based paint under appropriate conditions will last around 15 years.

The problem is that you might only have a few dribs and drabs of paint lying around at the bottom of a paint can, and now you need to know how to dispose of old paint. Old paint disposal isn’t the only kind of home hazardous waste disposal you might need to deal with, of course, but it’s definitely the most common.

How to Get Rid of Old Paint from Your Housepainting Project

Experts estimate Americans throw out more than 60 million gallons of used interior and exterior paint yearly.

That adds up to:

  • Enough paint to paint 3.8 million miles of highway stripes – 16 solid stripes from the Earth to the moon!
  • If you decide you want to swim in it, you could fill up more than 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

About 10% of all paint purchased in the United States ends up going to waste. Depending on the kind of paint you’re using, you’ll have to take different steps to ensure you can dispose of it safely. Most people don’t think about that before their project, so they end up scratching their heads later.

Luckily, it’s not that difficult to dispose of old paint when you know how!

How to Dispose of Latex-Based Paint

Latex paint, also known as water-based paint, needs to be hardened before it can be removed. Paint hardeners can be purchased at any hardware store, or you can use certain additives you might have around your house: Kitty litter, mulch, and shredded paper will all work.

Once your latex paint has hardened completely, you can scoop it out and place it in the regular trash. When you’re done with the can, it can also go in the trash—there’s no need to separate it from the other garbage. The one exception here is if you come across really old latex paint from the 1990s or earlier.

Older latex paint contained mercury, which is incredibly hazardous!

That’s why you can never:

  • Pour latex paint into drains, the ground, or any body of water (creeks, streams, rivers).
  • Put cans of liquid latex paint out for regular trash pickup without hardening it, as described above.
  • Burn any paint—this is incredibly dangerous! It is often illegal to even try.

How to Dispose of Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints are considered Hazardous Household Waste (HHW), and you need to be very careful with them. They are highly flammable and put off toxic fumes when burned. In addition, they contain a variety of solvents, resins, and pigments that can cause harm to the skin or eyes.

To dispose of these paints, you need to bring them to a local waste disposal facility that specializes in Hazardous Household Waste. It’s always best to call first since policies on oil-based paint vary from one facility to the next. Many of these facilities won’t accept oil-based paint if the labels on the can are removed.

Luckily, when you use a professional painting contractor in Jacksonville, you don’t have to worry.

At Performance Painting, proper paint disposal is always part of the job. Our goal is to make sure your home or business looks better than when we found it. Part of that commitment is a full cleanup of all waste. Contact us to get started or learn more.

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