I’m now sure that when I’m not looking, which is most of the time, the empty and partly empty steel paint cans in my garage mate and produce young.
How else to explain the incredible proliferation of these creatures?
I was looking for some old signs in the garage yesterday evening, and those dern paint can were everywhere! Some already lived there when we bought the house. We brought in more for various painting projects.
If I get rid of them, I figure, I’ll have lots of room for other types of cluttter.
Obviously, as the author of a sustainability blog, I don’t want to “landfill” the paint cans. So I hit Google to see what I could find out.
I found that paint cans are highly recyclable. Just a few things to note:
First, the cans must be empty. A thin film on the inside is ok — they don’t have to be sparkling, but shouldn’t be sloshing around, either.
That brings up the question — “what to do with leftover paint in the can?” There are several options. I got these from a neat video posted at www.durabilityanddesign.com, which is the electronic incarnation of the former print pub Journal of Architectural Coatings.
Basic idea is that since water-based latex paint isn’t a hazardous material, you can let small amounts dry in the can. Then, just pry out the dried hunk ‘o paint and plop it in the trash. You can also soak it up with kitty litter, or even newspaper, and put it in the trash. The guy in the video made the point that if the latex paint is ok on the walls of your home, it’ll be ok in the landfill.
A better way to dispose is to donate the leftover paint. In Lawrence, Kan., where I live with Mrs. Henry and three dogs, this means scheduling an appointment to drop it off at our local hazardous waste facility, even though it’s not hazardous waste.
And even better than disposing, according to a brochure from the Lawrence Public Works Department, is using it all up to begin with. Online paint calculators are easy to find, and can help you buy just the right amount so there’s little left over. Other recommendations include using the left over paint for additional coats, and finding something else that needs painting.
During my career in the Navy I learned most everything benefits from a coat of paint.
Once the cans are empty, you can allegedly put them out for curbside recycling with other steel-can recyclables, or take them to the local recycling center.
Remember, that’s just for steel cans that held water-based paints. Containers that hold solvent-based paints have to go to the hazardous waste facility. If you’re not sure which you’ve got, try dissolving a few drops in some water. If it won’t dissolve, it’s not water-based, and should go to the hazardous waste facility.
I haven’t tried any of this yet. Will give it a shot this or next weekend and report back.
Have a great weekend!