Thursday, June 27th, 2019 by Bryan Rainey
More often than not, whenever someone is doing renovations or remodeling on their home paint will be involved and the chances of using every drop in the can are slim, to say the least.
Because paint is classified as a hazardous liquid, you cannot just throw it away. And for goodness sake do not pour it down the drain or in a storm sewer.
So now that you’ve spent all this time and effort on your home or project, what is the easiest and most environmental way to dispose of this hazardous liquid?
No one has 30 years to spare to let the paint dry on its own. So, what should you do with your leftover paint?
Before disposal, there are a couple of things you might want to consider. First, if there isn’t much paint leftover, you might want to consider applying one more coat, even if it isn’t necessary. This will save you the trouble of having to dispose of the paint altogether.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you’ll want to keep the leftover paint for use later. If you’ve painted something that might be damaged in the future or may need to be replaced and repainted, it might be a good idea to hang on to the paint.
Alternatively, life may throw a curveball, and you may need to move your residence. In this case, the next homeowner may want the paint that was already used in the home.
If you’ve taken all this into consideration and have decided the paint needs to disappear, here’s what you can do.
On any given day there are hundreds of projects going on in Matthews. And a good many of these projects require paint.
Look to give the paint away using Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor.com is a great platform for neighbors to connect together and share resources.
Check the Matthews, NC town website to see if any schools or churches have upcoming projects that may be able to use the paint.
This is my favorite option for old paint, but it does take a little effort. However, it will prove to be the most rewarding seeing the leftover paint put to good use.
Note, Habitat for Humanity will accept paint as long as the can is unopened.
Your next best option is visiting a local recycling center.
For Matthews residents, you have two options. Both facilities are considered self-haul drop-off centers and have a limit of disposing 5-gallons of paint per visit.
Hickory Grove Recycling Center
8007 Pence Road
Charlotte, NC 28215
Foxhole Recycling Center
17131 Lancaster Highway
Charlotte, NC 28277
The most straight forward way to dispose of paint is to pour paint hardener into it. You can find paint hardener at any local hardware store. It’s super simple to use and makes it so you can put the leftover paint can in your rollout trash container.
Just pop the can open, pour in the hardener, stir it, and let it sit overnight. When you wake up the next morning the paint should be dry, hard, and ready to dispose of.
There's also good old kitty litter. Kitty litter is an absorbent material, as it should be given what it’s made for. It’s usefulness however goes beyond that of cats.
Kitty litter can be a very convenient option for drying up your leftover paint. It works in pretty much the same way as pain hardener. The only difference is with paint hardener, you just need one packet for the whole can to be made disposable.
Kitty litter, on the other hand, requires the volume of kitty litter to be the same as that of the paint (1:1 ratio).
For example, if you have ½ of a can of leftover paint you’ll need ½ a paint can of kitty litter to fully harden the paint. If you have over ½ a can of leftover paint this may not be an option.
Unless you have other empty paint cans where you can distribute the leftovers so there’s enough room for the 1:1 ratio of kitty litter.
So, which hardener is better for you?
Well in terms of convenience, if you have a cat and have some litter sitting around, that would be the option you’d want to go with.
Alternatively, you could also use other absorbent materials that you might have readily available. If you have a workshop and frequently do different sorts of woodwork, sawdust is a viable alternative.
If you’re looking to go out and buy specific materials to harden the paint, however, you’ll want to get a gauge for how much paint you have to harden in order to maximize cost efficiency. If you have just a couple of cans that have a good bit of paint left, paint hardener is the way to go.
Since kitty litter is sold in larger quantities, it would probably be better to just use a couple of paint hardening packets. On the other hand, if you have a lot of cans, kitty litter might be a better option.
Just remember you need as much kitty litter as paint in order for it to properly harden. Note, kitty litter may take a few days to fully harden whereas paint hardener will dry overnight.
Now that you have a few choices, what’s next is to figure out the best option for your specific circumstance.
Obviously, the best option, if you have time, is to find someone who can reuse the paint. If you know of a local school or church in Matthews, NC that is embarking on a new project, it’s easy enough to check and see if they could use the paint.
It might end up being very helpful for everyone involved.
If you don’t have the time to look for someone who can use the paint, try taking it to a recycling center. This is free and they will ensure the paint is properly disposed of.
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