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The How-To on Storing and Disposing of Old Paint

If you’re painting with standard oil or latex-based paints or even eco-friendly paints, it’s still important to follow certain precautions to keep stored paint fresh and properly dispose paints without harming the environment.

Storing paint:

  • Be sure the paint can lid is closed and sealed completely! If the lip on the lid is not secure, it isn’t sealed completely. It’s helpful to use a rubber mallet to properly seal the lid onto the paint can.
  • Once the lid is secure, store the can upside-down. This will ensure that the lid is secured tightly and prevent air from flowing in and out of the paint can. Storing paint properly will preserve it by keeping not allowing it to thicken and dry while preserving the environment and preventing pollutants from escaping.
  • Keep mindful of where you store your paint. It is best to store paint in a garage, outside of personal living spaces, but be aware of the temperature. Eco paints are water-based, which means freezing will ruin them.

Disposing of paint:

  • It’s best not to purchase more paint than you need and will prevent needing to dispose of unused paint. You can also keep paint and use it for touch up rather than disposing of it.
  • Remember, when disposing of paint yourself, dry out the paint first, then scrape all dry paint from the inside and outside of the paint can. This can be done by simply exposing it to air or purchasing a paint hardener to solidify the paint. Keep paint away from children and animals when allowing paint to dry.
  • When you dispose of dry paint, use a trash receptacle and recycle the metal can.

Remember: Never pour paint down a storm sewer or into a drain.

When disposing old paint and other harmful waste materials, it is always best to take it to a disposal site near you. Always call the waste disposal or recycling service department for your municipality for the latest information about paint disposal