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Painting Tips & Tricks: Disposing of Leftover Paint

It’s good to keep a small amount of paint for future touch-ups, but you’ll have to protect it from drying out. I transfer small amounts of paint into glass jars and label them with both the color name and formula and the names of the rooms painted. Significant quantities can be kept in the original bucket for a year or more if properly sealed. I cover the top of the paint bucket with plastic wrap and then tap the lid in place. The plastic helps seal the container and prevents rust from forming on the lid and contaminating the paint.

When storing excess paint, protect it from heat or freezing. Oil based paint should never be stored near heat or open flames.

Protect The EnvironmentProtect the Environment

Don’t contaminate the environment by pouring leftover paint, or paint thinner down the drain or onto the ground. Many communities and some garbage collection services offer paint disposal services; check to see if it is available in your area. While most waste collection companies don’t accept oil based paint, they may accept dried latex paint. Unwanted latex paint can be left open to dry and can be mixed with cat litter to speed the drying process.

While many believe the small amount THEY pour out doesn’t make a difference; it does. We must all choose to dispose of chemicals responsibly, and that includes paint, thinner, or other chemicals. Do the right thing when disposing harmful chemicals and take them to a facility that is designed to handle them. You’ll not only feel good for doing so, you’ll be helping to protect the environment for future generations.


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