It’s been time to paint the inside of the house. Linear measures, height by breadth give the area and from that you need to estimate the volume of paint. The realities of inexperience regarding surface absorption rates kicks in. One litre covered four square metres of a garden shed last year. One litre of varnish did two coats of a bench. One litre of undercoat will cover fifteen square metres inside the house.
It’s not a big problem but it’s why we have just added to the eleven pots of long forgotten paints in various residual volumes in the shed. Some say you’ll never know when you’d need a touch-up but after a few years, the colours no longer match. So why keep any paint ever? How many paint cans are there per head of population? How do you dispose of paint tins that have residual paint?
I don’t know the answers to these questions and it’s likely that you don’t either. I write this having searched online for ideas for Ireland. I read the EPA.IE hazardous waste booklet and I’m underwhelmed.
I already know that paint can’t be put into the sink because it’ll end up in a river. Paint can’t be put in a tip because liquids are not acceptable in landfill.
‘If you have a lot of left over paint or unused paint, donate to a charity or check out your local civic amenity centre as many have paint reuse schemes.’
So says EPA.IE. Of course there are caveats that they forget to mention. You should assume that no local project will want oil-based glosses or anything with high-VOC symbols and certainly no aerosols. Ten year ageing is fine for whiskey but unacceptable for paint. And anything with lead is illegal.
They take this so seriously in Australia that the paint industry established a paint collection business. To quote their website: ‘Paintback® is taking unwanted paint and packaging’s colourful past to a brighter future of responsible disposal and innovative reuse. Paintback®, established in 2016, is a world-first, industry-led initiative designed to divert unwanted paint and packaging from ending up in landfill and vital waterways.’
‘Paintback is an independent not-for-profit organisation which is funded through a 15 cents plus GST per litre levy on eligible products, between 1 litre and 20 litres inclusive.’
As I suspected, paint is a hazardous material without supervised disposal regulations here in Ireland. While we wait on government action to improve the handling of excess paints, we should treat its disposal with great care. And perhaps avail of qualified painters who will do a better job of estimating volumes based on area and surface types.