A Pain in the Paint
Vault.com makes a conservative estimate that approximately 120 million gallons of household paint are sold in the U.S. each year, with 96 million gallons of it being some shade of white. I could find no estimate on the amount of paint sold to commercial facilities. For research purposes, I think we can safely assume it is a lot. The latest EPA statistic (2007) states that up to 10% of house paint is discarded each year. At the time of the study, this equated to 6.5 - 6.9 million gallons of paint at the time. For today’s statistic, we can assume upwards of 12 million gallons of paint. Where does it go? In many cases, the wet paint ends up in the landfill, buried, or poured into the sewage system; all of which is illegal and irresponsible.
Granted, Maricopa County, and the cities within, do not make disposing of used paint an easy process, but a process there is, and one that should be followed by both business and consumers.
Recycle Please.com provided the following guidance for paint disposal:
You should remember that improper paint disposal can harm the environment. So, store unusable paints properly and safely before disposal.
· Keep the product in its original container with the label intact.
· Store products out of reach of children and pets, away from heat, and away from the house, if possible.
· Check the label in intact condition if any lead or hazardous materials are in product because lead and mercury may be found in older paints.
· Remove the lid and let the paint air dry outdoors. If you want to speed up the process, stir in an absorbent material.
· Look at the paint which it is completely dry and has no moisture, then wrap the dried clump in newspaper and place into your regular trash. Do not place the lid back on the can. Wrap the lid and can separately in newspaper for disposal. This technique works for latex paints because oil-based paints require an extensive time to dry.
· You can purchase for “waste paint hardener”, if you need to get rid of a lot of latex paint. This powder mixed in with a gallon of paint will cause it to harden up within hours.
The county website is a bit more simplistic in its approach, but states under the topic “How do I dispose of paint?
Paint can be recycled for a fee at businesses, such as Stericycle Specialty Waste Solutions and Household Hazardous Waste Pickup. Please call 602-276-7602 for more information.
Paint may also be disposed of as trash after it has been hardened. To harden paint, add paint hardener (may be purchased at home improvement stores) or clay cat litter to the paint, leave the paint can open and let it dry. When paint is dry, leave the lid off and dispose of in your regular trash.
Check your city website for specific guidance.
As a hauler, paint is the only hazardous waist I will remove for my clients. Trust me, it is a pain and accidents happen. But I would rather do the right thing, than see discarded paint end up in the wrong place. I use Greensheen Eco Friendly Paints for all my paint recycling. They are located at 1626 S 51st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85043. Their number is (602) 278-6445 ( https://greensheenpaint.com/ ). They charge by the pound to collect your paint. However, the cost is minimal and the first 200 lbs. free with a City of Phoenix Water Bill. I dropped more than 500 pounds off just this morning.
Did I say accidents happen and it can be a pain? I did.
This past Saturday I was moving paint for a client in Scottsdale when the contain split open and about one quart of white latex paint spilled into the street. Not my best moment to be sure.
But regardless, we made a mess, we will suffer the burden of the clean-up. According to the City of Scottsdale Streets Department, paint spills happen all the time and (1) most people just leave it, or (2) they attempt to wash it away using a hose or pressure washer. Neither are the correct or ethical solution. Immediately after the spill I scraped up all the excess wet paint I could and poured into one of the Home Depot style plastic buckets I always carry with me. Once I removed all the excess paint, I advise my client to let it dry, I would have it professionally cleaned. The next day, I hired a professional cleaning service to have the dry paint sand-blasted away and the dust reclaimed. Was it inexpensive? No, it was not. But it was the right way to go. However, there was still a noticeable impression in the street where the paint stain was, and this was an HOA in North Scottsdale.
I placed a call to the city
and advised them as to what had occurred and how we mitigated the spill, asking for the next steps they would like me to take, if any. They were very appreciative of our candor and our response. The city thanked me for the call and stated they would send a crew out to paint and reseal the street. Seems like a win all the way around. Paradog is and will remain dedicated to responsible, ethical, and legal disposal practices. Things occasionally happen. When they do, we will take responsibility and exercise all appropriate due diligence to make it right. We will never hide from our errors, nor walk away from them. Even when they cause a massive “pain in the paint”. Call now to discuss your disposal, clean out, and removal needs. 855-PARADOG (727-2364).