Getting Rid of Old Paint

Most homes have a stash of old, sometimes downright antique, paint in a garden shed, garage or basement. You cannot merely throw it away, so what should you do with old paint?

  • If it is still usable, consider donating it. Check freecycle.org and craigslist.org. These are online bulletin boards where you can give things away.

  • Open the cans and leave them somewhere dry. Eventually, the contents will completely dry out and you can dispose of them in your trash. Mixing something very absorbent into the paint, like kitty litter, will speed up this process.

  • Ask at your local paint or hardware store for paint hardener. There are several super-absorbent products on the market which, when mixed into paint, will harden it very quickly.

  • Call your city waste disposal department or recycling center and ask when their next hazardous materials pickup is. Most municipalities have one or two days a year when they will pick up everything old paints, solvents and oils for safe disposal.

  • Mix all your old paint together and paint your old basement walls until the paint is all gone.

  • There are some companies now recycling used paint. Check earth911.org to see if there are any near you.

  • Offer it at a garage sale.

Whatever you do, please don't dump it all down the drain.

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