What's Up with Latex Paint - Part One

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What’s Up with Latex? Part One


By now nearly every resident in Lake County has explored avenues to find the proper way of disposing of “everyday household paint”, which in most instances is Latex Paint. 

And equally, many residents have thought..Let's take it to SWALCO...

 Whoa…Just A Minute Please!!

We are happy to provide Lake County residents with options for the proper disposal of household chemical waste. However, Latex Paint is NOT a Hazardous Waste. The IEPA states "At every collection, in every part of the state, paint is the most common material delivered by Illinois citizens. Today's latex (water-based) paint has a very low level of toxicity. Disposing of it at a household hazardous waste collection day is very expensive. Therefore, the Illinois EPA encourages people with unwanted latex paint to use other options.” The main concern with interior latex paint is not with the paint itself, but with the fumes released by the paint as it dries. The fumes are made of organic compounds, or VOCs, which are gases. The actual type of gas depends on the formula of the paint. Generally, the heavier the tint and glossier the paint is, the more VOCs are present. If this is your concern, many manufacturers have Low VOC options available and more importantly, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines; open windows and fill the area with fresh air!

We still want your oil-based paints and associated products such as stains, “Top Coats” (polyurethanes shellac), paint thinner, mineral spirits, spray paints, etc...plus all the other accepted materials…

So how can you determine what type of paint you have?

On the paint can label there are a few lines about “Clean-up”. If you can use soap and water to wash up spills or clean your brush: that’s a water-based paint. If you need any type of chemical to wash up spills or clean your brush: that’s an oil-based paint.

Please don’t be discouraged! We understand you’re truly trying to do the right thing, we applaud and appreciate your extra efforts and so do your neighbors! Please don't pour latex paint down your sink drain, or flush it or pour into your community waste/stormwater system, or spread it out onto your lawn to dry..there are safe, easy & time effect methods available!!

Part Two will provide options on the recycling and/or disposal of water-based paints.

Stay Tuned…


IEPA, (2014, August). Used Paint Disposal Alternatives. from http://www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/paint/index