What to Do With Paint
Most of us go through it. In our garage or basement, we collect cans of paint and other finishes of various types, conditions, and amounts thinking we might need them. We put off dealing with the growing pile until a day of reckoning comes and we either have to move and clean the house for sale or we run out of space. How do we dispose of all those cans of paint?
This is one of the most frequent questions we get. The first option we encourage people to pursue is donating the paint to a worthy cause. Maybe your local school, church, theater, or scout troop could use it for various projects. You can try Habitat for Humanity.
The type of paint you have makes a big difference in what you can do with it, as latex (water-based) varieties are much easier to dispose of than oil-based. With latex, if you have a small amount in a can, you can get it dry and hardened by leaving it exposed with the lid off or by putting clay-based cat litter in it to soak it up. Then you can dispose of the can in the trash or recycle it at a scrap metal facility if there’s not much left in it.
For oil-based paints, about the only option is to take it to a facility licensed to dispose of it. It won’t get recycled in the usual sense; it will probably get burned as fuel. Unfortunately, there are no such facilities in Snyder County, but a handful of them are scattered around the state, both private and municipal. A quick search brought up these possibilities an hour or two away:
Center County Recycling & Refuse Authority, 814-238-7005
Bower Disposal Company (Williamsport), www.bowerdisposal.com
Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority, 570-643-6100
Hazardous Waste Experts, 888-681-8923
Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority HHW Facility, 717-397-9968
Another option for paints is to take them to a special collection event for household hazardous wastes. We held one in June at the Monroe Township shed, and we have another one scheduled for October 26-27 in Beavertown at the fire department and carnival grounds. Municipalities typically hold these events, and they bring in outside contractors to collect household chemicals, including paint, usually charging a fee. We’re using a company called ECS&R, and they charge $1.45 per pound for chemicals. You may want to keep this mind and do a quick estimate based on what you have so you’re not shocked by the price. At the June event, we had many people bring latex paint in. If you follow the procedures above, you can dispose of it yourself and save the cost.
Snyder County Recycling Coordinator
Snyder County Solid Waste Management Authority