What should you do with leftover paint once your painting projects are completed?

Home Inspector with Quality Home Inspections LLC

First, consider donating the paint for reuse. Some organizations will accept paint that's in good condition (defined as uncontaminated paint still with a smooth consistency). The paint must be donated in a labeled container. You can check for donation options locally by clicking on "Paint donation" at www.earth911.org.

Recycle it. Water-based, or latex, paint can be recycled into new paint or used to create other products. Again, check www.earth911.org for recycling options.

Each municipality has different requirements, depending on whether the paint is oil- or water-based.

According to the website govlink.org, latex paint (water-based) can be included in curbside trash. Their suggestions include solidifying paint by:

Mixing in absorbent material such as cat litter, sawdust or shredded newspaper into paint and allow mixture to dry thoroughly or Let the paint dry out by removing the lid and setting the paint can in a well-ventilated area or Pour thin layers into a disposable pie plate or cardboard box lined with plastic and allow the paint to dray one layer at a time.

Once your paint is dry, you can leave the lid off the can and place the cans in your your regular trash. And remember, recycle any cans made of steel.

Oil-based paint, lead paint and paint thinner contain flammable and toxic solvents. For information about disposal of these products, call Earth911 for more information at 800-253-2687. Keep in mind that each municipality has different requirements.

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