Google+ House Revivals: How to Recycle Old Paint

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Recycle Old Paint

Did you know old latex paint can be recycled?

Many communities have drop off sites for old paints.  Some communities even allow residents to take other people's discarded paint for free.

HHW facility. Photo: Megan Dobransky,

If you need to do some painting projects, and your budget is zero, you might call around to see if your municipality has a paint exchange program.  Often, items such as cleaning supplies, motor oil, and so on are also free for the taking.

There are several ways paints can be "recycled".  First, as mentioned above, you can use leftover paints from another project, straight out of the can.  Another way to recycle paints is to mix bits of leftover paints into one container to create a new color.  Lots of cities have programs that do this, often using the resulting paints to cover graffiti, and sometimes offering the mixed paints to local residents free of charge or for a small fee. Sometimes post-consumer paints are collected by a paint reprocessing company, where it is sorted by color family, filtered, and remixed.  I've painted most of my fixer-upper condo with free leftover paint that I've mixed myself, using a five-gallon bucket and a stir stick.

Check out these beautiful colors available through Metro Paint
 in the Pacific Northwest!  Would you ever guess this is the result 
of paint recycling?

Municipalities and paint recycling companies basically do the same thing I did, only on a larger scale.  The resulting paints are usually low VOC paints, because most of the harmful VOCs have escaped during the recycling process.  Here is an informative video of the recycling process used by Canada based Boomerang Paints.

Another company that recycles paint, Amazon Environmental, Inc., offers a lovely muted palette.  Recycled or reprocessed post-consumer paint is usually mixed in very large batches, so customers can be sure to get enough of the color they need to complete a project.  There is often some color variation between batches, but the variation is pretty minimal.

If your city does not accept leftover latex paint for recycling, some paint stores do.  Most Habitat for Humanity stores will accept your paint, as well -- either to sell as it is, or to mix in larger batches for re-sale. 

Calibre Environmental recycled paint colors.

If you are planning a painting project and have a tight budget, or just want to tread a little more lightly, you might consider using recycled paint.  You can mix your own from leftovers in the garage (be sure to only mix latex with latex), or you can pick up some cans from the local Habitat store or a local household hazardous waste center.  Remember paint mixing in high school art class?  The same concepts still apply, so with some planning, you can come up with some very nice colors.  Or let the pros do the work for you -- here are some manufacturers of reblended and reprocessed paint:

Vermont, Local Color Paint
Kelly-Moore eCoat
Quebec, Boomerang
Alberta, EcoCoat
Amazon Environmental (available in over a dozen states)
California, Visions Paint Recycling
Oregon and Washington, MetroPaint

I hope you've found this information useful -- if you know of some paint recycling links that I've missed, please feel free to leave the links in the comments section.  Happy painting!

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  1. What will the Companies do with Old Paint ?

  2. We've bought paint through the ReStore - it's a great idea!

  3. I am lucky ... my dd works retail and feature walls are repainted about 6 times a year ... so i have been lucky enough to get many 3/4 full gallon buckets of paint ... and i have used some of them already ... just deciding if the inside of my garage should be painted red, robin's egg blue, or chantilly

  4. Good to know. I've bought quite a bit of paint at our local Habitat for Humanity. Sometimes I will pick up a paint color that is too dark, but I like the color family. Then I'll mix white paint with it to get the shade I want.

  5. Wow. I just learned a LOT! The Engineer and I were talking just tonight about what to do with our old paint. As you know, we've done a lot of remodeling at both of our houses and have literally a wall of left-over paint. We are in a big push right now to get de-cluttered and free of "stuff" that hinders us from enjoying life as it's happening because it's always, "Well, when...then..." Also, being hospitalized for most of a week gives you plenty of time to think about what's really important. It ain't paint, this I know ;-) But having my old paint being used by someone else, now THAT'S a cause I can get behind.
    So have you solved the can't comment on my blog thing yet? I've been remodeling there - you have seen Life is Good's new spring outfit, right? I got a custom made (for free because he's also a co-host of the A-Z Challenge) banner, a new template, and did some housekeeping of de-cluttering there, as well as in my "real" house. Come check it out! Also, is there any chance that you'd let me guest post here, or you post yourself, about the April Challenge? We're doing a big push for 1,000 participants by 3/1. In my comment on today's post at the A-Z Blog I gave you a shout-out, saying I hoped you'd let your horde of followers know about the challenge. ANY type of blog can join. Yes, we have a lot of writers, but also musicians, photographers, and blogs that defy categorization.
    Tina @ Life is Good

    Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge


  6. Sheesh, I'm in Canada and had no idea about Boomerang! Thanks for the heads up, they have quite the neat process of recycling! I'm a fan of ReStore too.

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge on this topic. This is really helpful and informative. I would love to see more updates from you.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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