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Recyclopedia: Paints and Solvents

Paints and Solvents

These substances can be among the more toxic products we have in our homes. Many paints contain heavy metals such as cadmium. Oil-based paints and paint thinners are made with solvents that evaporate easily, giving off harmful fumes. If you have old paints around, they may contain lead, and are therefore Household Hazardous Waste. They should go to HHW depots. Reusable Building Materials Exchanges-such as Habitat for Humanityís Reuse Stores may accept used paint. Many municipalities now sponsor "Paint Exchanges" where you can drop off or pick up free leftover paints, stains and other coatings (subject to availability). Paint brought into Household Hazardous Waste depots is often blended, or remanufactured into new product. Consider buying remanufactured or blended paint when itís available. Or, you can list leftover paint on your areaís Material Exchange. Latex paints contain fewer toxic substances than oil-based paints, and do not require solvents for thinning and clean up. However they can still be hazardous. The best choice is organic paints, made entirely from plant materials. However at present, these are difficult to find. Try to buy only as much paint as you need to do the job. Pass leftovers on to someone else to use. Buy only what you need. Hereís a Paint Calculator that helps you figure out the quantity needed to paint an area. here