Part 4: It’s Just…Paint

Published August 2019

A Guide to Common Products with Uncommon Properties

 By: Nick Dryden


Paints, Stains, Varnishes

Part 4: It’s Just…Paint

This is part 4 of our It’s Just… series on common products we see in industry.  In this series we will be focusing on the chemicals found in these products, where you might find them in your facility, and how these products should be handled for disposal. Quick Disposal.

These products are all very common and can be safely used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.  However, chemical products can quickly become unusable through improper storage.  After products are no longer usable, most are subject to disposal regulations and should not be poured down the drain or thrown in the trash.  Improper disposal can pollute the environment, harm wildlife, and/or harm human health. 


Old Unwanted Paint Cans

Paint: Where is it Commonly Found? 

Paint can refer to any number of chemical coatings designed to protect a surface, change its appearance, or both.  Paint can be found or stored in many different areas of a facility; common locations may include carpentry shops, automotive shops, maintenance storage closets, and specially designed painting rooms/booths.





Can of Paint; Note Flammable Warning

Paint: What’s Makes it Dangerous? 

Paint comes in almost as many chemical varieties as colors.  Most of the chemicals in each container can be broken down into two categories, the coating and the carrier.  The coating is the material that will be left behind on the surface once the paint dries.  The carrier is the liquid that the coating is mixed into and is meant to evaporate or dry over time.

The coating in many paint products is relatively safe, however some pigments still use toxic heavy metals like lead, chromium, or barium.  The carrier can be water, petroleum-based solvents, or a mixture of the two.  Many paints which use a petroleum-based solvent as a carrier are flammable.



Mixed Aerosols and Spray Paint

Paint: How to Properly Dispose of this Chemical? 

Paints should be evaluated for their hazards based on the chemical constituents.  Many paints are regulated by the US EPA and US DOT and have very strict shipping and disposal requirements.  Please contact our Hazardous Waste Team to put a safe plan in place for disposal of this chemical or any other chemicals you no longer want.