How to safely dispose of old paint

Jul 20, 2023 | Ask the Realtor

Rosemarie LaBadie

One of the services I offer homeowners planning to list their home for sale is a prelisting inspection. During the inspection, invariably we come across a storage area full of old paint, pesticides, automotive supplies and other household hazardous waste.

The California Residential Purchase Contract requires owners to remove all personal property prior to closing. Plus, you want your home to look its best when you invite buyers in, so cleaning this area should be pretty high on your to do list. But what can you do with it? You cannot just throw it in the trash.

Luckily, the San Bernardino County Fire Department has a household hazardous waste division where you can drop off your hazardous waste. It is free to all county residents for personal use. They accept old paint, thinners and varnish in addition to many other hazardous items like automotive chemicals including motor oil, old gasoline, antifreeze and oil filters. They also accept weed killers, pesticides, fertilizers, chemical drain cleaners, pool and hobby supplies, old mercury thermostats and electronic waste. You can also drop off outdated medicines and sharps/needles (in approved containers only).

If you are planning to take advantage of this service, the items must be in the original container from the manufacture and must not be leaking. The manufacturer’s label must still be attached to the container so they will know how to correctly dispose of the item. A milk jug labeled oil is not acceptable. Place the items in a cardboard box and secure it in your vehicle. When you arrive at the site, stay in your car. The staff will unload for you.

The facility is near the San Bernardino airport, just off the 210 at the Fifth Street exit. The address is 2824 East “W” Street, Bldg. 302, San Bernardino. Chances are the street will not come up on your GPS. So, if you take the Fifth Street exit, go west to Victoria. Turn left onto Victoria; W Street intersects with Victoria. They just added a large lit sign at the intersection of Victoria and W. The facility is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have any questions on what you can drop off, the telephone number is (909) 382-5401.

One last thing: If you have dried paint in a can, that can go in the regular trash. It’s only paint that is still liquid that must go to a waste facility. If you only have one or two gallons, you can dry the paint out and then put it in the trash. The easiest way to do this is to open the can and stir in a shovel of dirt. The dirt prevents the paint from creating that film that seals it. Once dry, it can go in the trash.

If you have real estate questions, I would love to hear from you. Please call me at (909) 338-9995. Rosemarie Labadie, broker, Crestline Real Estate CA BRE #01240715


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