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Disposing Of Used Paint Thinner

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  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Disposing Of Used Paint Thinner
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 9:29 PM

     Okay, in this day of being not only PC (politically correct), but EC (environmentally correct), how does one "properly dispose" of their used paint thinner?

     In the "old days" we'd just pour it down the drain, or out in the driveway, but given that I am sure that today that is a "big time" no-no, what is the correct procedure for disposing of used paint thinner?

     Or for that matter, how about how do we properly dispose our empty paint bottles, glue bottles, tubes, etc., etc., etc.

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Minnesota City, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Posted by FlyItLikeYouStoleIt on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:45 PM

I can honestly say that I've NEVER had to dispose of any old paint thinner. You see, I'm a frugal kinda guy and make use of everything, even old paint thinner. There's always some weathering to be done using "dirty thinner" or when blending paints, old thinner sometimes comes in handy to lighten or darken to acheive the desired color and/or thickness.

Otherwise, does your area have a Household Hazerdous Waste facility. They'll take it off your hands.

Bill.

On the bench:  Lindberg 1/32 scale 1934 Ford Coupe and a few rescue projects.

In queue:  Tamiya 1/35 Quad Tractor or a scratch build project.

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:41 PM

I start by saving all the used and dirty thinner in a labeled plastic milk jug. When the jug gets pretty full, I take it to the yearly hazmat collection that the township has. That way I know that it is disposed of correctly. As for empty paint bottles, glue bottles and tubes, Same procedure.

Jim Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench: Artesania Latina  (aka) Artists in the Latrine 1/75 Bluenose II

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by mitsdude on Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:51 AM

Digital_Cowboy

     Okay, in this day of being not only PC (politically correct), but EC (environmentally correct), how does one "properly dispose" of their used paint thinner?

     In the "old days" we'd just pour it down the drain, or out in the driveway, but given that I am sure that today that is a "big time" no-no, what is the correct procedure for disposing of used paint thinner?

     Or for that matter, how about how do we properly dispose our empty paint bottles, glue bottles, tubes, etc., etc., etc.

SWIM have been reported pouring in down an ant bed or on stubborn weeds growing in cracks on the driveway. Don't milk jugs pollute the environment too?

If you really want to be PC and EC then find an environmentally friendly paint so you don't have to buy/use paint thinner.

I guess better just end my comment here as I don't want to be banned. I'll leave it up to the reader as to how I would suggest disposing of these items. If it aint broke don't fix it.

 

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Thursday, April 11, 2013 3:41 AM

Good points made by all, guys.

I would suggest you check your local ordinances, to find out what they recommend, as there is a very wide variation in the UK between local municipalities as to what they will & will NOT allow.

I Switched to Acrylics purely because of the smell.

My leftovers from that are from paint cleanup, rags, newspaper, masks, etc, which (in the UK) can go in the normal bin, & the water in the spray-out pot, which I pour out into a cardboard box & bin when dried out.

BUT I still have small quantities of Cellulose Lacquer, Mr Surfacer, Humbrol metallics & thinners, Acrylic Lacquer rattlecans, etc,  which I try not to use in quantities large enough to generate lots of waste.

When I used Humbrols, I had two tins of thinners, one fresh for err... thinning & final cleanup, the residues from that went into a sealable jam-jar & allowed to settle, & then decanted into another jar for further use.  

East Mids Model Club 32nd Annual Show 2nd April 2023

 http://www.eastmidsmodelclub.co.uk/

Don't feed the CM!

 

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 7:37 AM

fox

I start by saving all the used and dirty thinner in a labeled plastic milk jug. When the jug gets pretty full, I take it to the yearly hazmat collection that the township has. That way I know that it is disposed of correctly. As for empty paint bottles, glue bottles and tubes, Same procedure.

Jim Captain

Jim,

     Saving it up in a milk jug or whatever and taking it into the town as part of their disposal process is probably the best thing to do.  The same with the empty or partially empty bottles of paint and/or glue.  Unless of course said bottles or tubes are labeled with instructions on how to properly dispose of them.  But sadly, the printing on the Testors paint bottles is just too small for me to be able to read. Wink

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 7:41 AM

Jon_a_its

Good points made by all, guys.

I would suggest you check your local ordinances, to find out what they recommend, as there is a very wide variation in the UK between local municipalities as to what they will & will NOT allow.

I Switched to Acrylics purely because of the smell.

My leftovers from that are from paint cleanup, rags, newspaper, masks, etc, which (in the UK) can go in the normal bin, & the water in the spray-out pot, which I pour out into a cardboard box & bin when dried out.

BUT I still have small quantities of Cellulose Lacquer, Mr Surfacer, Humbrol metallics & thinners, Acrylic Lacquer rattlecans, etc,  which I try not to use in quantities large enough to generate lots of waste.

When I used Humbrols, I had two tins of thinners, one fresh for err... thinning & final cleanup, the residues from that went into a sealable jam-jar & allowed to settle, & then decanted into another jar for further use.  

Jon,

     You idea of saving the used thinner and then decanting it to be reused along with saving it up and turning it into one's local community collection site are probably the best way (or at least one of them) of disposing of ones used thinner, paint, etc.

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Cameron, Texas
Posted by Texgunner on Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:34 AM

FlyItLikeYouStoleIt

I can honestly say that I've NEVER had to dispose of any old paint thinner. You see, I'm a frugal kinda guy and make use of everything, even old paint thinner. There's always some weathering to be done using "dirty thinner" or when blending paints, old thinner sometimes comes in handy to lighten or darken to acheive the desired color and/or thickness.

Otherwise, does your area have a Household Hazerdous Waste facility. They'll take it off your hands.

^Good answer.  

If one is really frugal, one can pour the dirty thinner into a jar/can and let the solids settle on the bottom.  Then, the top "clear" part of the thinner can be poured off and used for enamel paint clean-up of airbrushes or brushes.

Gary


"All you mugs need to get busy building, and post pics!"

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:53 AM

     On the idea of saving used thinner and decanting it for later use, I think that probably pouring it through a coffee filter to further remove the solids might be a good idea as well.

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:57 AM

I have a coffe can with a small vent hole poked in it, and the inside is stuffed with paper towels. I dump old thinner in there, and the towels soak it up. and when it evaporates i just change out the towels and throw them away.

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Cameron, Texas
Posted by Texgunner on Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:28 AM

Digital_Cowboy

     On the idea of saving used thinner and decanting it for later use, I think that probably pouring it through a coffee filter to further remove the solids might be a good idea as well.

^^^

+1


"All you mugs need to get busy building, and post pics!"

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:38 AM

Texgunner

Digital_Cowboy

     On the idea of saving used thinner and decanting it for later use, I think that probably pouring it through a coffee filter to further remove the solids might be a good idea as well.

^^^

+1

Texas Gunner,

     Thank you, I hope that it helps others.

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Spartanburg, SC
Posted by subfixer on Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:41 AM

Use it to light the BBQ.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Green Bay, WI USA
Posted by echolmberg on Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:59 AM

This is more of a ponderance than anything but I wonder if places like Lowe's or Home Depot will take back old thinner and/or paint.  Maybe I'll contact them and find out.

Eric

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Minnesota City, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Posted by FlyItLikeYouStoleIt on Thursday, April 11, 2013 11:17 AM

^Good answer.  

If one is really frugal, one can pour the dirty thinner into a jar/can and let the solids settle on the bottom.  Then, the top "clear" part of the thinner can be poured off and used for enamel paint clean-up of airbrushes or brushes.

Gary

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Gary, yeah I forgot that one. I do that as well. In fact, I usually have thinner in 3 stages of usability :  

FRESH: brand new or just a lil bit cloudy

NOT SO FRESH: stuff I've poured off the top that's still basically clear but starting to show some color

and

BLAH  ... WHY THE HELL AM I KEEPING THIS: the thick stuff that's never going to be fluid again. I actually use this to adjust tone and thickness, create oil stains / fuel spills, and finally; mini molotov cocktails that I'm hoarding for that imminent day when I finally declare war on the wife's doll houses

Bill.

On the bench:  Lindberg 1/32 scale 1934 Ford Coupe and a few rescue projects.

In queue:  Tamiya 1/35 Quad Tractor or a scratch build project.

  • Member since
    July 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:19 PM

I have never had to dispose of old thinner.   I reuse it until its too thick to paint with . Then I use it to fill in ground work on dioramas or use it as loads of dirt in railcars.

Also comes in handy for the 4TH of July   Bad builds!  Which happen all year long !    

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage"

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:22 PM

Nathan T

I have a coffe can with a small vent hole poked in it, and the inside is stuffed with paper towels. I dump old thinner in there, and the towels soak it up. and when it evaporates i just change out the towels and throw them away.

 

Not trying to be a wiseguy,but isn't the sediment leftover on the paper towels hazardous also ? So simply throwing the towels away would create an ecological problem also ?

Believe me,I'm not casting stones-just asking ?

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:37 PM

Not really sure?? It's probably not 100% enviro-friendly, but its dried paint. What do you do with sanding dust when re-painting cars or other things, or after you've chemically stripped paint off a car or airplane? Makes me wonder what these professionals have to comply with?

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:45 PM

True,you can go crazy with this stuff

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 3:20 PM

FlyItLikeYouStoleIt

^Good answer.  

If one is really frugal, one can pour the dirty thinner into a jar/can and let the solids settle on the bottom.  Then, the top "clear" part of the thinner can be poured off and used for enamel paint clean-up of airbrushes or brushes.

Gary

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Gary, yeah I forgot that one. I do that as well. In fact, I usually have thinner in 3 stages of usability :  

FRESH: brand new or just a lil bit cloudy

NOT SO FRESH: stuff I've poured off the top that's still basically clear but starting to show some color

and

BLAH  ... WHY THE HELL AM I KEEPING THIS: the thick stuff that's never going to be fluid again. I actually use this to adjust tone and thickness, create oil stains / fuel spills, and finally; mini molotov cocktails that I'm hoarding for that imminent day when I finally declare war on the wife's doll houses

Just make sure that your wife doesn't read this post.  Or she and her dolls might storm your supplies in attempt to keep you from declaring war on the doll houses. Wink

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Thursday, April 11, 2013 3:26 PM

Tojo72

Nathan T

I have a coffe can with a small vent hole poked in it, and the inside is stuffed with paper towels. I dump old thinner in there, and the towels soak it up. and when it evaporates i just change out the towels and throw them away.

 

Not trying to be a wiseguy,but isn't the sediment leftover on the paper towels hazardous also ? So simply throwing the towels away would create an ecological problem also ?

Believe me,I'm not casting stones-just asking ?

Tojo72,

     That is a good question.  It very well could be.  And it is a good question to ask.

Nathan T

Not really sure?? It's probably not 100% enviro-friendly, but its dried paint. What do you do with sanding dust when re-painting cars or other things, or after you've chemically stripped paint off a car or airplane? Makes me wonder what these professionals have to comply with?

Nathan,

     I can see how, how to properly dispose of various hazardous or semi-hazardous materials can drive a small business owner not only to drink, but force 'em out of business.  As there are all kinds of city, county, state and federal regulations that they have to deal with.  It can/must be a logistical nightmare for some businesses.

Tojo72

True,you can go crazy with this stuff

Tojo72,

     This is so true, and I hope that I haven't opened up a can of worms by asking about it.

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Central USA
Posted by qmiester on Friday, April 12, 2013 7:07 AM

I don't know about most other places, but here in Kansas each county has a hazardess waste disposal site.  I keep a quart can with a screw on top under my modeling desk and put my dirty paint and on occasion old paint in that until it's full. Then I make sure the lid is installed tightly, mark the can's contents on the side w/a permanent marker and take it to the disposal site.

Quincy
  • Member since
    August 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Friday, April 12, 2013 8:15 AM

I have pondered that question too :

    I talked to the local haz-waste person and am following their advice .Did you know you can neutralize that old thinner with DAWN dish - soap ? You mix one tablespoon of it with the one pint of thinner and two cups of water . Seal it tightly and dispose of it normally . This sure helps me as I use a lot of it in my business of building models on commission .

 There is also the question of disposing of rags etc as well . I was told to put them in the largest ZIP-LOC bag I could find fill it and squeeze out as much air as you can seal it and then dispose of it too ,

in a normal manner .

   Now for acrylisc , I just wash brushes in the water and soap and then when a bottle is empty wash it out with soap and water as well . I re-use ALL the jars I can for custom mixed paint . this include large or small amounts . If a client's model requires larger amounts of paint ( a pint or quart amount ,for instance.) I use it all then washout the can , stuff it with old rags , paper towels and dispose of it in the normal way .They want you to pay by the minimum load at the HAZ-MAT site which is 1/2 ton minimum and that is $25.00 bucks .That's a little high for two one quart cans .     Tanker-builder

  • Member since
    August 2012
Posted by famvburg on Friday, April 12, 2013 8:38 AM

Not so much for models, but when I throw away thinner from full-size spray painting, I pour it in the drum I use for waste motor oil. It then gets disposed of when the guy comes and gets the waste oil. As far as throwing bottles, etc., away, I would guess there's a good chance if you leave them open and let the paint residue dry, you can just throw them in the regular trash. I can do that here, also, with the big fuel filters from our airport refuelers, just let them drain in a pan and dry out a week or so and throw them in the trashcan. OTOH, if you pour the thinner on concrete, like a driveway, on a sunny, or especially a hot sunny day, what's it gonna do, evaporate? It's not going into a drain and into some body of water somewhere that way either.

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Friday, April 12, 2013 9:09 AM

tankerbuilder

I have pondered that question too :

    I talked to the local haz-waste person and am following their advice .Did you know you can neutralize that old thinner with DAWN dish - soap ? You mix one tablespoon of it with the one pint of thinner and two cups of water . Seal it tightly and dispose of it normally . This sure helps me as I use a lot of it in my business of building models on commission .

 There is also the question of disposing of rags etc as well . I was told to put them in the largest ZIP-LOC bag I could find fill it and squeeze out as much air as you can seal it and then dispose of it too ,

in a normal manner .

   Now for acrylisc , I just wash brushes in the water and soap and then when a bottle is empty wash it out with soap and water as well . I re-use ALL the jars I can for custom mixed paint . this include large or small amounts . If a client's model requires larger amounts of paint ( a pint or quart amount ,for instance.) I use it all then washout the can , stuff it with old rags , paper towels and dispose of it in the normal way .They want you to pay by the minimum load at the HAZ-MAT site which is 1/2 ton minimum and that is $25.00 bucks .That's a little high for two one quart cans .     Tanker-builder

     That's interesting about Dawn dish soap, thank you for the information.  You'd think that they'd have two fee schedules, one for commercial disposal and one for household disposal.

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    April 2013
  • From: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posted by Digital_Cowboy on Friday, April 12, 2013 9:16 AM

famvburg

Not so much for models, but when I throw away thinner from full-size spray painting, I pour it in the drum I use for waste motor oil. It then gets disposed of when the guy comes and gets the waste oil. As far as throwing bottles, etc., away, I would guess there's a good chance if you leave them open and let the paint residue dry, you can just throw them in the regular trash. I can do that here, also, with the big fuel filters from our airport refuelers, just let them drain in a pan and dry out a week or so and throw them in the trashcan. OTOH, if you pour the thinner on concrete, like a driveway, on a sunny, or especially a hot sunny day, what's it gonna do, evaporate? It's not going into a drain and into some body of water somewhere that way either.

     I'm not saying that what you're doing is right or wrong, but I think that you might want to check and see if you can mix chemicals into the waste oil.  As I always thought that one of the reasons for collecting waste oil was to recycle it somehow so that it could be used again.  If it has chemicals like paint thinner added to it, it probably changes the overall chemical makeup of it and changes the way that it is handled.

     It's funny that you talk about pouring it out on a concrete driveway, I remember doing something similar, only instead of waiting for it to evaporate, I'd light it on fire. Wink

---------------------------------
Digital Cowboy
Live Long and Prosper
On the Bench: '64 Ford Fairlane; '09 Corvette Coupe

  • Member since
    June 2010
  • From: Australia
Posted by OctaneOrange on Sunday, April 14, 2013 10:01 PM

i throw all my old paint in the garbage because it's all dried out. Thinners evaporate too, so i've never had to worry about disposal.

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