Starting May 1, 2012, Island County will no longer accept latex paint and stain in our Household & Business Hazardous Waste Program. While non-hazardous latex/acrylic paint has been the largest quantity among materials accepted in the Hazardous Waste Program, Island County can no longer subsidize solidification and disposal services due to decreasing revenues. We apologize for this inconvenience.
Latex/acrylic paints may be disposed of at all County Solid Waste Transfer Stations at regular trash pricing after being thickened to a non-pourable consistency. Dumped illegally, liquid latex paint can be a hazard by plugging or damaging septic fields, overloading sewage treatment plants and creating environmental hazards on the ground.
How do I know if my paint is latex based or oil based?
Look on the paint can for key words. Latex paint is also called “water based” or “acrylic”. It cleans up with water, dries on your walls in aout an hour and can come in plastic containers. Oil paint is also called “alkyd” paint. It cleans up with solvent, does not come in plastic containers and dries slowly (overnight). The words “flammable,” “combustible,” “petroleum distillates” and/or “keep away from heat or flame” will be on the label. Oil paint is hazardous and should be brought to a hazardous waste collection facility.
What about other stains, wood finishes, and solvents?
Labels on stains, wood finishes and solvents will use the same key words as described above.
How do I safely dispose of leftover latex paint and latex stain?
Latex/acrylic paint may be disposed of at all County Solid Waste Transfer Stations at our household garbage rate after being thickened to a non-pourable consistency.
How do I thicken my latex paint or stain to a non-pourable consistency?
With small amounts (1 inch or less in the can), remove the lid and let the paint dry out in the can. Protect from freezing and rain as well as curious children and animals. This only works when an inch or less of paint is left in the can and is most effective in the warmer months.
Mix latex paint with an equal amount of clay-based cat litter. Stir in completely and let stand until dry or thickened to a non-pourable consistency. Add more cat litter if the paint is runny after 10 minutes. Repeat until the material is non-pourable.
Mix latex paint with saw dust, bentonite clay, floor sweep or other absorbent material to the point that it is no longer pourable.
Mix latex paint with commercial paint hardeners, available at most paint supply stores.
Pour latex over an absorbent material such as old carpeting or cardboard, let dry.
If you have any questions about drying or thickening latex paint or about having large quantities of latex paint to dry out, call 360-679-7386, 360-321-5111 ext. 7386, or 629-4522 ext. 7386.
Preventing latex paint and stains waste:
Buy only what you need and ask the sales staff for assistance to buy the right quantity.
If you save your paint for later, follow this easy tip to make the paint last longer. Cover the opening with plastic wrap, make sure the lid fits securely so the paint doesn't leak and then turn the paint can upside down! This creates a tight seal and keeps the paint fresh to use again.
If you can, try to use the latex paint up by applying an extra coat to walls, fence, shed or doghouse. Extra coats can be extra protection!
Ask neighbors and friends if they want free paint or donate to a school or other organization (always call first).
Usable paints are accepted by some thrift stores.
Island County's Moderate Risk Waste program for households and small businesses continues to accept oil based paints, stains, solvents, automotive fluids, rechargeable and lithium batteries, fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps, pesticides, pool and spa chemicals and other hazardous materials.