Cleaning Out? What to do with all the paint, chemical and items you don’t want anymore?

Cleaning Out? What to do with all the paint, chemical and items you don’t want anymore?

Whether you live in the country or town each of us find ourselves in this situation.  We clean out the garage or out building only to find a bunch of stuff that should nott be thrown in the trash, but we don’t know what to do with it!  That is part of the reason it tends to stockpile in the first place.

After a weekend of cleaning out, this is the situation at my house.  So, here is what I have found!  One thing is for sure, when it comes to hazardous waste the best practice is to buy only what you can use!

The next best thing to do is try to recycle what you can.  In Shawnee, Lowes will take batteries, plastic bags and Lightbulbs.  Another option for items is the Hazardous Waste drop-off in Oklahoma City.  But, be prepared, there is a charge for disposal.  Check out those details on the Shawnee Public Works website.

If none of those options work for you, then here is the next plan of disposal for a few common items.

Disposing of aerosol cans – The main issue with aerosol cans – is it empty or full?  Do not ever dispose of a partially full can.  This applies to throwing it in the trash, or taking it to be recycled.  An empty aerosol can be thrown in the trash or taken to a recycling center.  Recycling is a great idea since the can is made of recyclable metals.

Take all the spray cans which you need to dispose and keep them at one side. Then go on to follow these steps:

• Choose an area where you can safely spray the remnants of a used can without inviting the danger of an explosion

• Once you have chosen an area you can spread the news papers on the floor

• Take one of the spray cans to be emptied and start spraying on the newspaper

• Once the hissing noise stops you can be sure of the fact that the cans are totally empty

If possible, take latex paint to a recycling center where it can be reused by another person or sent on to make more paint.  Here’s how to dispose of latex paint without taking it to a recycling center.

Add equal parts cat litter to latex paint in the can. If you have more than a half a can, you can also pour the paint into a lined box or trash can. Then pour in cat litter.  Stir the cat litter into the paint until it thickens and will not spill. Allow the mixture to sit for one hour.  Paint cans with dried paint can be thrown in the trash.

Lawn chemicals are a different story.  The only allowable way to dispose of pesticides is to use them up according to label directions or to take them to a household hazardous waste site.  If you can’t use up your pesticides, fertilizers, and weed killers, consider giving them away.  Sewage treatment plants aren’t designed to remove all toxic chemicals from wastewater. Pouring garden chemicals into a storm drain, down the sink, or in the toilet is never an option—and it is against the law!

For the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal site nearest you, call 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687) or visit for more information.

For a detailed list of Household Chemicals and ways to dispose check out this DEQ link:

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