Paint Thinners: Expense, Illegal Dumping and Recyling – On the House

Paint Thinners: Expense, Illegal Dumping and Recyling

By on March 26, 2014
illegially dumping paint thinners


I read your recent column about disposing of paint thinners. Although a newly established “residents only” site is available off Tunnel Avenue, it is off limits to commercial sources like myself. This new effort is laudable, but it does nothing to address “small generators” like myself.

I have a small 3 man painting business and we generate about 150 gallons of used paint thinner a year, along with some unwanted paint that must be disposed of. This is not very much in relative terms.

I checked around to see where I can dispose of this. I found the plant in Richmond will take the waste, but it is illegal for me to transport it without a special license. They will come and pick it up but at the cost of $10.00 per gallon (five times as much as I pay for a gallon of new paint thinner).

I called the Toxic Information Center to no avail. Until they address this problem, I along with everyone in my situation will continue to dump it illegally.

Name Withheld


We are not familiar with the limitations and/or restrictions at the Tunnel Avenue site, but relatively speaking your 150 gallons of waste is probably equal to at least 40 times as much as the average consumer might need to dump in a year. Relatively speaking that could be considered quite a difference.We are not pleased with the availability of, or cost for, hazardous waste disposal, but to determine its’ relative importance all we need do is browse around our rivers, harbors and streams to arrive at an opinion. Waiting until T H E Y do something about it could take forever. WE ARE THEY! Until the other THEY do something about it we THEY will have to act as responsibly as we can. Sort of like when we do all we can to prevent the success of the unlicensed contractor who doesn’t have to charge as much for his work, because he doesn’t have to comply with all the expensive rules laid down by OUR government- most of which have been designed for the benefit of our customer’s health and welfare.

There are alternatives. Recycle your thinner, and as much of your paint as possible. Doing so is cost efficient and will improve your profits. Once you’ve found what the actual dump rates are in relation to your annual sales then include them as a cost of doing business. In our remodeling company it is sometimes difficult for us to land a contract, because we have similar costs that we must incur (and pass on to our customers), that some prospective clients are not willing to pay. But, our success and that of other businesses like ours proves that we’re doing the right thing by our community.

Each customer of yours who pays his portion of proper waste disposal is helping to protect the future of his family. Yes, you may lose some of the business you’ve been getting in the past. And, so do we, but if your prospective client isn’t willing to pay the price- then at least realize what he is really saying. “Break the law for me. Mess up the environment. You be responsible, because I don’t care”. Sound familiar?

About onthehouse

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest