Power To Save: Latex Paint Disposal

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Like a lot of folks, you probably have some old paint cans lying around, but before your just throw them in the trash, you should find out about the right way to dispose of them.

First and foremost, we're talking about latex paint can disposal. Be sure to read the label on the can you're looking to get rid of. If the label says it has a latex base, you're good to go, if the can is completely empty.

"The can -- empty can, totally empty can -- can be recycled," said Lackawanna county recycling coordinator Barbara Giovagnoli.

In most cases, your can isn't empty, so you'll need to follow the EPA and DEP guidelines for disposal. This starts with seeing how much liquid is in your can and turning that liquid into a solid.

"Kitty litter is going to absorb the paint. We'll leave the lid off for a while and then we'll put the top back on," Giovagnoli said.

If your can is less than about three-quarters full, dump that kitty litter right into the can.

If the can is full of paint, Giovagnoli recommends you pour it into the kitty litter.

Give your paint and kitty litter mixture a stir and leave the lid off to allow it to dry. Once it has, tightly secure the lid and wrap it in newspaper.

"So now, even if there was any kind of leak, the paper is going to absorb anything that might be leftover," Giovagnoli said.

Place it in a plastic bag and you're ready to throw out your can.

"Sometimes in the purchasing is when we make sound environmental decisions. Do you really need the gallon of paint or are you OK with a smaller container," Giovagnoli added.

Don't forget an empty can gets to be recycled rather than a lifetime stay at the landfill.