Remodeling, interior design, or spare paint cans from when you last painted the house (or maybe the time before that): we’ve all got extra paint at home. Much of modern paint is latex paint – and while it has upsides versus traditional oil-based paint – it still isn’t easy to dispose of. If you’re looking to dispose of latex paint at home, learn what your options are and how you might want to seek other options for a better environmental impact.
What Is in Latex Paint?
Often known more formally as acrylic latex due to the acrylic or polyvinyl resins included in it, latex paint is a water-based paint, where water is the thinning agent instead of oil. Latex has advantages over oil-based paint as it’s not as toxic, not having the same VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as oil-based paint can give off. The resins make it adhere well to most surfaces, though they can corrode metal and does poorly on high-gloss surfaces.
Disposing of Latex Paint at Home
If you’ve got leftover latex paint at home, you’ve got several options to get rid of it. Here are the most common:
- Reusing or Giving Away: If your used paint has solvents or thinners in it, it can often be reused by skimming them out. Check with your neighbors to see if they could use the paint if you’ve got no use for it.
- Drying Out and Trashing: Since latex paint doesn’t contain VOCs and does contain water, it can be dried out in small batches and thrown away. Wet paint cannot be disposed of in the trash or down the drain as it adheres to surfaces.
Paint Disposal Alternatives in MA
Many municipalities run a surplus paint collection program: see here if your county is involved with one (they usually only take specific kinds). Otherwise, you can come to one of our Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers for paint disposal. Paints and stains contain high BTU values used by industrial furnaces to produce electricity and as fuel in industrial processes such as cement kilns. These provide greener options than traditional power and help manufacturers close the loop – rather than throwing your paint into the trash to take up landfill space.
Want to learn more about paint disposal and other residential hazardous waste? Call NEDT at 1 (866) 769-1621 or contact us online. Come visit us if you’re ready to dispose of latex paint or other hazardous household products. While you’re making the trip, learn what else we accept to make the drop-off even more worthwhile. We also have an online price guide and the option to arrange an at-home pick-up for MA residents.