What To Do With Old Paint
Just about every household has old paint laying around. The paint is either from previous owners of the house or the current owners. Paint does have a shelf life and after years of storage it is best to dispose of it properly. Any paints that are being stored for future use need to be stored safely. Store paints that you intend to keep on a shelving unit in a warm enviroment to prevent freezing. Oil paints if not sealed properly and stored in areas near open flames are an explosion hazard. Store all oil paints in a safe place away from open flames to prevent combustion. Never leave paint cans on concrete basement floors or garage floors as over time the bottom of the can will rust and eventually cause the paint to leak out of the can.
There are several options to dispose of old paints. Latex paints can be disposed of in the trash after they have been dried out and hardened. One way to do this is to leave the can open and let it air dry, but this can take an extended period of time depending on how much paint is left in the can. The easiest way to harden latex paint is to pour kitty litter into the gallon and leave the lid open. It will take a few days, but the paint will soak into the kitty litter and then it can be thrown into the household garbage.
Oil paints and spray paints are a little harder to dispose of. Most communties will have a hazardous waste day at least once a year to allow homeowners to bring oil based paints to dispose of. Used paint thinners or mineral spirits are also accepted at hazardous waste days as well. One of the worst things to do with paint thinners is to dump them into the ground or worse down the sink drain! Please note that latex paint is never accepted at these collections and must be disposed at home like stated above. There is usually a limit to how much paint you can bring so please check with your community officials for details.
If you have paint in good condition and would rather it go to use than into a landfill, there is an option. Habitat for Humanity, or ReStore stores accept paint in good condition that they resell for a minimal fee. All the profits from ReStore are used to support Habitat for Humanity building projects in the Merrimack Valley area!