Households and businesses generate millions of gallons of leftover paint each year. Since liquid paint can't be thrown in the trash, much of it ends up sitting in basements and garages. The Solid Waste District's HazWaste Center accepts paint for recycling year-round, 6 days per week, but there are steps you can take to reduce the waste paint that you generate!
1. Buy Less
First, make sure you buy only what you need. Most paint manufacturers have a free, easy-to-use calculator on their website that allows you to estimate exactly what you'll need for your project.
2. Use It Up
Put a second coat on that closet or hallway. Before you get rid of that can, do you have any places that
could use a touch up? You can also mix together small amounts of latex paint, even different colors, and
use this mixture as a primer coat on jobs where your final finish isn’t critical.
3. Make It Last
Keep paint usable for years by storing it properly. If you cover the opening with thin plastic wrap before securing the lid you can help keep air from entering the can, which makes the paint last much longer. When you tap the lid down, be sure that it's firmly seated and not dented or sticking up on one side.
You can even try storing the can upside down on the shelf (if you do this, be careful, and make sure the lid is on nice and tight first!). This method uses the paint itself within the can to seal off any possible air leakage. Perhaps the most important tip is to keep latex paint from freezing during the winter. You can identify latex or water-based paint by looking for the following words on the can label: "latex," "acrylic," "water-based," or "clean with soap and water."
4. Pass It On
Consider donating good, usable paint to schools, religious groups, community groups, or theater groups. Your neighbor might need some extra paint for a small project. Just remember that they might not want your junk paint, because so many of us already have paint of our own to use up!
When you have leftover paint and you can't do anything else with it, you can bring it to the District HazWaste Center. If you are a household (not a business), then you can also bring leftover paint to one of the drop-off locations for Vermont's Paint Product Stewardship program.