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Leftover paint?

Painting is the easiest way to update a room or a piece of furniture, but very often we end up with a lot of left over.

Leftover paint can be hazardous, as it contains materials that can leak into the ground, contaminate septic tanks. Did you know, one gallon can contaminate many thousands of gallons one water, harm fish and aquatic plant life, eventually affecting the food chain?

Can you store it for future touch ups? If sealed correctly, latex paint can last up to 10 years, and oil-based paint up to 15. You will be happy you saved the leftovers, next time your children turn the walls into a giant canvas or when you move that big piece of furniture and scraped the paint. The EPA recommends keeping paint in its original container and with the original label. You can make an additional label with the date you opened it and to what room corresponds, to later remember if that was the "sky blue" or the "nautilus blue” you used in the baby’s room.

To seal the can, place plastic wrap over the paint lid and hammer it down. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and out of reach of children and pets. Once your paint is hard and lumpy, or if it has a particularly foul smell, it has probably gone bad and should be disposed

Try not ordering more paint than you need. Most of the "known" brands have online calculators, where you enter basic measurements and it tells you the quantity you will need. If you prefer to talk to somebody, try your local paint or home improvement store, they are the experts and will be able to guide you.

If you already have it, try updating a cupboard or wardrobe. There are many DIY projects you can do with your kids, try painting rocks?! ;) Already know you will not use it? try to donate it! You could call the schools close to you and see if they have a big art project coming up, where they can use your paint or search for green building companies that might accept extra paint Habitat for Humanities ReStores, or Paint Care are some that will.

If donating it is not an option try dry it out before you throw it away. Wet latex paint can be hazardous, so dry it up. If there's only a small amount of paint in the bottom of your can, leaving it out in the sun should do the trick. If there's a bit more than the sun can handle, try adding cat litter or newspaper to help soak up the paint and speed the drying process. For larger amounts of paint, purchase a paint hardener at a home improvement store for just a few dollars. Check your local laws, but in many locations, you can throw away dried-out paint with the rest of your household trash.

Check to see if there is a scheduled household waste collection day in your community. You can also call your town hall. Bring paints to the specified collection site along with other toxic products you want to get rid of, such as paint removers, used solvents, pesticides, and herbicides.

If your community does not offer this service, call your County Extension Home Economics Agent, the local waste management agency, your area’s water treatment plant or the local landfill, and ask what the procedure is for where you live.

Also making sure you recycle any old paint tins helps to care for the environment.

Think before you toss and plan for the future!!!

Click on the links to find locations near you:

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