How to dispose of old paint

A couple of weeks ago at a final walk-through of one of our listings, the buyers were surprised to see that there were several paint cans left in the garage after our client had moved out. Some of the paint was relatively new, since our client had re-painted a few rooms to freshen them up before putting his home on the market. He assumed the buyers would want the paint for touch-ups. But they didn't. They wanted it gone. All of it. They were planning to repaint the entire inside of the house a different color.

That was at 7:00 pm the night before the 9:00 am closing. My client had already moved and was not in a position to deal with the problem. Paula and I had to get rid of that paint and bring a photo of the clean (paint-less) garage to closing. Paint is not one of those things you can just chuck in the garbage. If it's oil based it's considered hazardous waste and must be taken to a collection site where it will be dealt with in an environmentally safe way. If it's latex, it will need to be completely dried out before it can be thrown out.

Most people keep old paint around because: 1) they think they may need it sometime; or 2) they don't know how to dispose of it. That's why there are usually 10-20 cans of paint in everyone's garage or basement.

If you are planning to sell your house in the future, you should be aware that most buyers do not want your old paint. So you might as well make a plan to use it up or dispose of it. You could give some rooms a fresh coat of paint. You could donate it to a local charity, theater group, school or church. Otherwise, here's what you can do:

Oil-based Paint

You can't throw it out. You must take it to an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency collection center. The closest collection center to the North Shore is in Gurnee:

Solid Waste Agency of Lake County
By appointment only on second Saturday or fourth Monday of each month
1311 N. Estes Street, Gurnee
(847) 336-9340
swalco.org

Or, you can wait for one of the one-day collection events that take place from time to time on the North Shore.

Latex Paint

Leave the paint can open in a well-ventilated area until it dries out. Then you can put it in the garbage- but leave the lid off so your garbage collector knows it's dry. To expedite the drying-out process you can mix kitty litter or sawdust in with the paint. Even shredded up newspaper will work...anything that will absorb the paint. If you don't have the time or inclination to do this, you can take it to a local hardware store (see list below) and, for a fee, they will take care of it.

North Shore Hardware Stores That Take Latex Paint

Don't Have Time to Take Your Old Paint Cans Somewhere?

Got Paint Pick-Up will come and get your old cans of paint and dispose of it for a fee. Call 312-882-7266 or visit www.gotpaintpickup.com.