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Virginia Beach, VA 23464
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  1. 6-Point Program for Leftover Paint
  2. Wallpaper Calculator
  3. Paint Calculator
  4. Paint Color
  5. Health and Safety
  6. Picking House Paint
  7. How to Get the Painting Job You Want from Your Contractor
  8. Preventing Moisture Damage


6-Point Program for Leftover Paint

An average of two gallons of household paint is sold for each person in the United States each year. That's a lot of paint! Too much of that paint ends up in our nation's landfills, because people needlessly throw it away. But you can help by following these steps:

1. Buy Only The Paint You Need
First, always buy only what you need. That way, you reduce the chance of having any paint leftover in the first place. It's the same idea behind reusing grocery bags, or eliminating excess packaging. When you avoid creating waste at the start, you're practicing "source reduction." It's a smart way to help the environment!

2. Store Paint So it Lasts for Years
You don't throw away the loaf of bread just because you used a few slices. You wrap it up and store it, so you can enjoy it again later. It's the same with paint. Did you know that when properly stored, paint can last for years? Just cover the opening with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid fits securely so the paint doesn't leak. Here's the key step: store the paint can upside down. The paint will create a tight seal around the lid, keeping the paint fresh until you need it again.

3. Use Up All Your Paint
Now that you know how to keep your leftover paint fresh for years, don't forget about it. Use it up!

Leftover paint can be used on touch-up jobs and smaller projects. You can also blend and mix smaller quantities of similar colors of latex paint to use as a primer on larger jobs, or jobs where the final finish is not critical. (Always make sure you read and follow all label instructions when applying paint.)

4. Recycle the Empty Paint Can
Once you've used up your paint, recycle the empty steel paint cans. Each paint can you recycle is one less can that ends up in a landfill! In some areas, plastic paint pails and containers may also be recyclable, so be sure to check the requirements for your community.

5. Donate or Exchange Your Paint
If you just can't use your leftover paint, donate it to community groups, theater groups, schools, churches and others who need or want it. You may even be able to take a tax deduction! Another good way to get rid of your unwanted leftover paint is to participate in -- or organize -- a neighbor-to-neighbor or community-wide paint exchange/paint swap. Some communities even hold these along with their household waste collection events.

6. As a Last Resort...Dispose of Paint Properly
Everyone should be able to save, use up, donate or exchange leftover paint. If as a last resort you need to dispose of your leftover paint, make sure you do it properly.

Dry leftover latex-based paint and discard it. Let your leftover latex paint air dry away from children and pets. One method is to pour the latex paint into a paper box or bag, and add absorbent material such as shredded newspaper and cat box filler to speed drying. Recycle the empty can, and then throw the dried paint away with your normal trash. (Note: If you live in California, Washington or Minnesota, your state may require special disposal considerations for latex-based paints, so be sure to check.)

Remember, air drying liquid solvent-based paint is generally not recommended, but if the paint has already solidified in a closed can, you can dispose of it in the regular trash.

Save leftover solvent-based paint for collection. Liquid solvent-based paint should not be discarded with normal trash. Instead, save it for a special paint collection program or household hazardous waste program in your community.

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