Many of us don’t consider paint waste as hazardous and dispose of it like our common household waste. In fact, people consider medical waste, chemicals leftover from laboratory work, and batteries as very hazardous and think that such waste should be handled with care. Unfortunately, paint waste, which is equally harmful, is often neglected.
Due to negligence and lack of education related to paint waste, most of us don’t have any idea how hazardous it is and how it should be handled. Although some states, such as Oregon, have special laws for handling paint waste, they are often overlooked and ignored.
In this article, we will have an in-depth look at the hazards related to paint waste, the chemical constituents that make it hazardous, and how different types of paints should be handled with care at home or in the workplace.
Is Paint Considered Hazardous Waste?
Toxic waste disposal experts understand the several ways that paint is hazardous.: Some paint is ignitable, with a flashpoint under 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making long-term storage dangerous.
Older paint may have metal ingredients, such as cadmium and lead, which are toxic to humans and other living creatures. Lead can cause mental disorders, while cadmium is suspected of causing lung and prostate cancers. Paints may also contain solvents such as acetone, which has been linked to reproductive problems. Therefore, old paint disposal is quite difficult.
These qualities make paint a hazardous substance not just for humans but also for downstream ecosystems. Scientists have found that fish that are exposed to heavy metals have a harder time reproducing. Dumping paint into the ground or down the drain may seem innocuous, but this one act can lead to serious environmental harm.
Thinners, solvents, and oil- and latex-based paints are also toxic. These items are so noxious that even the rags and containers used for painting projects are considered hazardous because of the paint chips and paint dust.
2 Main Types of Paint Waste
Paints are divided into two main categories: Water-based paints and oil-based paints. Both of these types of paints have different chemical compositions. They also produce different toxic waste that should be handled accordingly.
Water-based paint is also known as acrylic or latex paint. Water is used as a solvent in these paints. It does not contain any harmful metals, so it can easily be disposed of after a bit of processing.
First, the paint is spread over a piece of wood, plastic, or cardboard. Then, it should be allowed to dry in the air. But it should be kept away from water and rain during the drying process. Once the paint is completely dried, it can be disposed of similar to common trash. Other than that, you can mix sawdust, newspaper, or any other sorbent and then let it dry. Paint hardeners can also be used to harden the paint and turn it into solid paint waste.
The residue on the paintbrushes and other materials can be cleaned with water and drained into the sanitary sewer. It is very easy to dispose of acrylic paint because there are no metals in the paint.
It is a bit difficult to dispose of oil-based paint because it cannot be dried in the open air. The paint emits voltaic organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to the environment. If there is very little oil-based paint, it can be dried. For a large quantity, it is necessary to contact a paint waste management service provider to come out to your location to deal with it.
How to Dispose of Household & Industrial Paint Waste
For industries, it is essential to follow the guidelines for paint hazardous waste disposal provided in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Industries dispose of paint waste through various methods. They properly dispose of the paint drums and clean the machinery, tanks, pipes, and other surfaces.
Homeowners should know how to dispose of both latex and oil-based paint. They can call a nearby waste management company or throw the paint waste in designated curbside pick-up points that are for hazardous waste disposal. They can also search for their local or state government’s DEQ website for information on disposing of your paint and paint-related items.
Properly Dispose of Paint Waste with WasteXpress
Waste management is very important, even when dealing with paint waste. Most people lack the proper knowledge and resources to accurately dispose of these harmful materials.
WasteXpress is an all-in-one waste disposal service provider. We manage different types of waste, including paint waste, solvents, oils, acids, bases, and paint drums. We have also been serving small businesses and Fortune 500 companies throughout the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. You can count on us for reliable, compliant, and environmentally friendly waste disposal services.