Paint and other hazardous products in your home don't belong in the trash or down the drain. To prevent pollution of our environment try to buy the right amount of paint / product. This will cut down on unnecessary waste. Choose latex paint when possible and buy “low-VOC” (volatile organic compounds) paint.

Reduce: Calculating paint needs before buying will save money and the environment.

• Measure the area you plan to paint
• Calculate Total Square Feet (Height x Width = Total Square Feet)
• Remember that one gallon of paint covers about 300 to 400 square feet

Reuse: Use extra paint on a different project or find someone who could use it. A Product Exchange Facility is located within the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility. Frequently, area residents bring in their paint, stain, wall paper paste and other usable materials to the facility. Rather than dispose of good condition materials, they are offered to the public for their use, free of charge.

Recycle: If you have leftover paint / products take it to the Otter Tail County Household Hazardous Waste Facility / Product Exchange Facility or to the nearest Mobile Household Hazardous Waste Collection. Latex and oil-based paint can be recycled. For more information see the PaintCare brochure or visit 

Storage: The MPCA recommends the following steps to store paint.

• Keep leftover paint in the original container, with a tight lid on it. Cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap before closing the lid. This will help create an additional seal when the can is closed.
• Leave the original label on the paint can. For future identification, also write the date opened and room/item you used it for on the lid.
• Use a rubber mallet to close the can for a better seal. Hammers can dent and bend the rim of the paint can; mallets are gentler. Use a small towel over the lid to help absorb impact.
• Store paint in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Avoid fluctuating temperatures, especially near furnaces and direct sunlight. Don't let your paint freeze.

• Small amounts of paint can be dried by taking the lid off and setting the can in a ventilated area - once the paint is dry, throw the can and dry paint in your garbage.
• Empty and dry metal paint cans can be recycled with tin cans in the metal recycle bin.
• Small amounts of paint can be applied onto newspapers to dry - when dry, throw the newspapers in the garbage.

Why consider using latex paint over oil-based? Oil-based paint often times requires solvents or paint thinner for cleanup. Solvents can be toxic, flammable and cannot be thrown away or dumped down the drain. For safe storage of paint thinners and solvents read this guide. Paint such as Amazon Paint has been made from recycled paint that is collected through recycling programs like Otter Tail County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program.
What do you do with lead based paint? Lead was used in paint made before 1978. Take lead based paint to the Otter Tail County Household Hazardous Waste Facility or to the nearest Mobile Household Hazardous Waste Collection. More information about lead paint disposal see this MPCA guide.

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