Living Columns & Blogs

Hints From Heloise: How to dispose of unwanted paint

DEAR HELOISE: How do you dispose of paint?

Pat in Vero Beach, Fla.

DEAR PAT: Oh, let me count the ways! First, see if neighbors or friends might want it. You can donate paint to nonprofit organizations, and theater groups and high-school drama departments may take it. Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a perfect option. But if there is not enough for a donation, then here is what to do:

Oil-based paints are considered hazardous waste, and as such, you should not just throw it in the trash. Call your household hazardous-waste center to see if they have a drop-off day scheduled. Latex and acrylic paints also can be taken to the hazardous-waste facility if they accept them.

If none of these are options that work for you, consider the following: Old paint (less than half a can) can be mixed with sand, sawdust or clay-type cat litter. It should thicken or dry up after a while. If there is only a little left, leave the lid open (away from children and pets) to dry and harden. Then put the can in the trash.

P.S.: I’d have fun painting a garage wall with all kinds of different colors! Who says you can’t?

DEAR HELOISE: When shopping at a sale where there may be multiple discounts, I use the calculator app on my cellphone to rough-estimate my total. This avoids confusion at the cash register.

Jackie H., Brea

DEAR HELOISE: We buy large packages of paper towels, etc., from big-box stores. After unwrapping them, we are left with a large amount of plastic. I use it as a large plastic trash bag.

Doris in Camarillo

Send a money-saving hint to Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000.