We at Moloney Painting
know that not only can painting be a tough job, it can also have detrimental effects on the beautiful physical environment here in Victoria BC. We care about the environment a lot and we want to leave the smallest footprint possible. We even created the Ultimate Eco Friendly Resource Painting Guide
The products you buy and the way you use them changes the type of effect you have, so make sure you are using the right materials and techniques. Luckily the CRD has provided tips for painting without pollution, which we summarize below.
Prevent paint from getting into storm drains and sanitary sewers.
Whatever goes into a storm drain will likely end up in our lakes, our streams, and the ocean--without any preventative treatments to protect these important parts of our ecosystem. Storm drains are mean to only collect stormwater from their typical locations in parking lots and streets, but other unwanted substances such as car oil and paints can get put into the system. When you are painting, find out if there is a storm drain nearby and divert paint away from there.
Sanitary sewers are underground systems that collect the water from indoor plumbing and floor drains. While anything that ends up in a sanitary sewer will first go through a screening facility or treatment centre before ending up in the ocean, you should keep paint out--there are better places for leftover paints, which we will mention later.
Figure out ahead of time how much of each paint or material you need and which of your options are the most environmentally friendly.
By planning ahead, you can save money as well as prevent unused paint and painting materials from going to waste. Some products are also better for the environment than others. Water-based paints are the way to go--their labels will include “latex” or “clean up with water.” You should also be aware of where all materials used in the painting process will go when you are done with them. Some products must be disposed of with a hazardous waste company. Before you buy a product, think about what you will have to do with it afterwards and what then might be your best option now. For example, citrus-based paint removers are less toxic than chemical strippers. Here are some other eco-friendly tips for planning ahead of time:
When painting, manage your use of paint and painting procedures so waste is limited.
- Avoid creating wastewater when preparing exterior painting surfaces--try wet scraping.
- Do not use chemicals for paint stripping--instead, you could use sandpaper, a heat gun, your own two hands, or citrus-based paint removers as mentioned above.
- If using high pressure water when cleaning or stripping an exterior surface, avoid doing so in windy conditions and also install a curb, dyke, or berm to prevent the water from getting into a drain. You can then direct the water onto a landscaped area.
Whatever does not end up on your walls or ceilings has to go somewhere else. Keeping this in mind, you should limit how much paint gets sprayed and your use of sandblasting. Use drip pans and drop cloths to lessen your need to later clean an area that got paint on it by mistake. When you are done painting for the day but still have more to do later, put your latex paint rollers and brushes in the freezer tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, so they can be reused on the next coat of the same colour. Any excess paint that does get left in your trays or bucket should be poured back into the paint can. Try to use the paint on your brush or roller as much as possible before you clean them, and squeeze out any extra back into the can. Do not mix products in a paint can, as doing so may mean you cannot recycle the can later.
Clean up using dry, absorbable materials if possible and the appropriate methods for whichever type of paint you used.
When cleaning your trays or any paint spills, use a paper towel or cloth and dispose of them in the garbage. Sweeping, brushing, and mopping are better methods for cleaning than anything that uses more water. If you have a spill incident, call the Provincial Emergency Program at 1-800-663-3456 or your municipality.
Brushes and rollers that have water-based paint on them can be rinsed in the sink once you have pre-cleaned them (as above). Use paint thinner for cleaning off oil-based paint. Once the cleaning is done, you can save the thinner in a glass or metal container and let the solids separate out. Then, skim out the paint residue and throw it out wrapped in paper. The clean thinner, as a solvent, can be used for your next project.
Keep leftover products stored properly for your next project or give them away.
If you end up with leftovers of paint or cleaning solvents, keep their lids on so rainfall or anything else will not get inside. Monitor the storage areas regularly, watching for wastewater in the area that looks sheen or discoloured--a sign of contamination of the products. Never throw leftover products out, especially into a storm drain or sanitary sewer. Instead, give them away.
Recycle paint cans and bring hazardous materials to the Hartland recycling facility.
If you do have leftover paint that you cannot give away or use, or empty cans, bring them to a local recycling depot. Hartland landfill can take hazardous wastes, which include the following:
- the leftovers of used chemical paint strippers, paint removers, solvents, glues, paint, and cleaning fluids.
- paint dust, chips, and wastewater from lead-based paint.
Keep these tips in mind whenever you start planning your next project. And if you want it done by professionals who know the tips and tricks already, give us at Moloney Painting a call at (250) 360-6400.