|Reducing Leftover Paint|
Dec. 3, 2011
Waste not, want not. In the case of the paint purchased for use in households across America, there is, in fact, a lot of waste occurring. It is estimated that more than 10 percent of the 750 million gallons of architectural paint sold annually goes unused.
The Product Stewardship Institute, a non-profit organization that is concerned with the life cycle of consumer products, reports that leftover paint has resulted in an estimated post-consumer management cost of half-a-billion dollars per year. This has created a major financial burden for municipalities, which have had to grapple with collecting and disposing of this paint.
However, the recent passage of post-consumer paint management laws in states such as Oregon and California is intended to alleviate that burden for government and put it in the hands of the paint industry and, ultimately, the paint consumer with the implementation of paint recovery fees built into the purchase price of newly purchased paint.
What can you do to reduce this burden? First of all, purchase only the paint that you are going to use. This will entail measuring your room so that you can determine how much paint you need, based on the square-foot coverage listed on the label. If you are still unsure, the personnel at your local paint store will be able to help you determine how much paint you need, based on the dimensions as well as the hide and coverage of the paint.
If you have a considerable amount of paint left over after your painting project, consider using it to paint another small room in the house, such as the laundry room or a utility closet. Perhaps the color might even work on the ceiling of the room you are painting. Save a small amount in case you need to touch up the paint at a later date. Store the paint with an air-tight seal and at the proper temperature to ensure that it can be used again.
If you still have leftover paint, consider giving it away to family or friends. Look into donating the paint to a local theater group, art club, school, church or an organization that provides home improvements for low-income households or the elderly.
If you are unable to give away the paint, make sure you dispose of it properly. Latex paint can be disposed of with your regular trash, provided that you have removed the lid and allowed the paint to solidify. You can use kitty litter, sawdust or a commercial waste paint hardener (carried by most specialty paint stores) to speed up the process. Leave the lid off the can when you throw away the can so that your trash hauler can see that the paint has hardened.
Oil-based paint is considered a hazard household waste and should not be thrown away in the regular trash. For paint and other hazard household waste disposal, contact your local municipality to see if there is a schedule of hazardous household waste collection events. Check with local paint stores to see if they know of a place to dispose of the paint or if they will take it back for recycling. If you live in the state of Oregon where post-consumer management law has already taken effect, you can visit the www.oregonmetro.gov website to find a recycler near you.
The advice presented here and at these two websites, when taken by everyone, will go a long way in alleviating the problem of leftover paint.