Know the Paint You Have
Household paints fall into one of two general categories:
- Latex, in which the major liquid ingredient is water.
- Alkyd or oil-based, which contains some sort of solvent. If you're unsure, check the cleanup instructions on the label.
Latex Paint/Oil Based Paint
Latex products can be cleaned up with soap and water; cleanup of alkyd products requires paint thinner or mineral spirits. The great majority of today's household paints, 75 to 80%, are water-based latex formulations. Most paints can be disposed of by mixing the residual paint with an absorbent material, such as kitty litter, sand or shredded paper; let the mixture dry completely and dispose of it in your regular trash.
Generally, once you have used up the latex paint, a thin film of paint can be left in the paint can to dry. Do this in an area out of reach of children and pets with the lid off. The cans, with completely dried latex paint film, may then be disposed of with your household trash or recycled in a steel can recycling program.
Latex paint that is still good for use can be dropped off at Site 13, 2400 NC Hwy 42 East (C&D Landfill). Call (252) 399-2823 with any questions.