Paint Recycling

by Josh on April 22, 2008 · 5 comments

in Journal

I’m an admirer of the “one in, one out” policy of clutter control. This is the idea that for every new thing you bring into your house you must get rid of one old thing– preferably through donation, sale, or recycling, not trash.

This can work wonderfully for things like clothing or books, but what about house paint? According to an article on MinnPost by Mark Neuzil, it may soon be as easy for Minnesotans like me to recycle old paint as it is to recycle a car battery.

Under a new proposal by state legislators, paint retailers would collect old paint for recycling by county hazardous waste services. Consumers would pay a nominal fee of $.50 for the service.

Imagine: when you want to repaint a room, you could bring the leftover paint from the current color along with you to be recycled when you go to buy the new paint. One in, one out.

I always seem to overlook the current paint collection options for my area, but if it was as simple as bringing unwanted cans to the hardware store I could finally clear some room on my packed storeroom paint shelf. Retail paint recycling would certainly cut down on illegal disposal of unwanted paint, too. On this Earth Day 2008, that’s an idea worth celebrating.

What do you do with your old paint? Does this recycling program sound like something you would want for your city or state?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy April 23, 2008 at 10:10 am

We have a day in May every year that is set aside for the purpose of taking your hazardous waste to the recycle department in our city. Things like paint, paint thinner, batteries, old weed killer, etc.


ranty April 23, 2008 at 10:35 am

I think I still have every can from every color of paint I’ve ever used – I always save the leftovers with the idea that if a wall gets scuffed I’ll be able to touch it up.

However, considering the fact that nearly every room is a different color (and some more than one) that adds up to a LOT of cans in the basement.


Dulcie April 24, 2008 at 11:26 am

I have several cabinets full of old paint in our basement, and I definitely need to get rid of it! Being in Boulder, CO, I’m sure we have a program – I just need to find it.


Jennifer April 24, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I, too, have every paint can ever opened in my house… there must be 15 more in the rafters of the garage from prior painters. Someday I must go look at it to see what colors our house has been prior to now!


Josh April 25, 2008 at 9:36 am

@Sandy- I know we have special collection events, too; I just can’t manage to get myself (and my old paint, etc.) to one of them.

@ranty- I think it’s a great idea to save paint for touch-ups. The trouble comes when I’ve still got paint left over from the color or two under the color I’d need to touch up.

@Dulcie & Jennifer- Kindred spirits! With a couple more people we could form a support group.

Hi, my name is Josh and I unintentionally horde old paint…


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