Today’s consumers are more aware than ever of the impact their decisions have on the environment. For decades, Americans have been painting the interiors and exteriors of their homes with ‘abandon’ and frankly little thought about how that excess paint will affect everything from landfills to the water table. In this blog we will offer some brief insight into the subject and hopefully leave the discerning homeowner better prepared to make ecologically sound decisions!
It should come as no surprise that the ingredients in most interior and exterior paints are toxic. Paints and stains may contain lead, petroleum and a variety of other unhealthy materials that can have long-lasting and unexpected outcomes. Science has labeled these paint ingredients as VOCs or volatile organic compounds. This means the chemicals evaporate fairly quickly at room temperature. While this is advantageous in the short term, anyone who has been around a freshly painted indoor or outdoor area can attest to the fact that the ‘fresh paint’ smell lasts for a few weeks. It can have negative short and long-term health impacts. Water-based paints will have a significantly less negative impact, but they are not entirely environmentally safe.
All types of paint are classified as ‘chemical waste’ and must be disposed of accordingly. It is important to take the time to understand the various types of paint and their chemical makeup in advance of its purchase. The best advice is to buy paints with the lowest VOC possible – there are even paint companies that claim to make 100% eco-friendly indoor and outdoor paints.
If you want to be environmentally aware then another suggestion is to buy only the amount of paint you need. Often people overbuy and then are left with the decision of what to do with the excess paint. Unfortunately, the decisions they make are generally not supportive of the environment.
Other ways to minimize your impact on the environment when painting or staining your home is to properly store the paint then reuse or recycle it in the future. By placing plastic wrap securely over the top of the paint can before tightly securing the lid, you are creating a seal that will keep the paint fresh and usable.
Finally, if you are unsure of what to do with excess paint or stain, contact your industrial waste specialists in the area. They will be happy to help.