Whatcom Magazine

Recycling tip: What to do with paint, stain cans

Alice Cords, left, cleans the seal of a barrel containing waste paint while Tyler Eaton looks to dispose a crushed paint can in July 2015 at the Disposal of Toxics Facility in Bellingham.
Alice Cords, left, cleans the seal of a barrel containing waste paint while Tyler Eaton looks to dispose a crushed paint can in July 2015 at the Disposal of Toxics Facility in Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

You’ve been busy this summer painting and staining your house and deck. The question now is, what do you do with your empty and nearly empty cans?

Here’s how to wisely reuse or dispose of them.

Give it away: It’s amazing what people will take when it’s left by the curb with a “free” sign. Give it a try.

Help the arts: Schools and art and theater groups sometimes need paint for projects and scenery. Give them a call.

Sell it: If you have enough unused paint or stain, somebody might buy it if the price is right. A classified ad could do the trick.

Reuse it: The RE Store in Bellingham accepts a variety of used building materials. Call the store at 360-647-5921 or check re-store.org to see what materials the store is accepting.

Dispose of it properly: Sanitary Service Co. (SSC) offers the following advice:

▪ Oil-based paints and stains must be taken to the county’s Disposal of Toxics Facility at 3505 Airport Drive. The facility is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first Saturday of the month. The service is free for county residents for household use. Details: 360-380-4640 and whatcomcounty.us/833/Disposal-of-Toxics-Facility.

▪ Water-based (latex) paints and stains can be put in your garbage, if properly handled. Let the material sit to solidify, or add cat litter or wood chips to help it dry and solidify. Once the material is solid, put it in the garbage, with the lid off so the driver can check.

For more recycling information from SCC, call 360-734-3490 or go to ssc-inc.com.

Plan ahead: When you’re thinking about your next house project, measure carefully so you don’t buy way too much paint or stain. That will reduce waste and save you money.

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