Solvents and Paints

Paint thinners, rust removers, and furniture strippers are toxic to aquatic life and can contaminate groundwater. Paints and preservatives have similar effects. These products should never be put down the drain into sewer or septic systems.


Set aside used paint thinner in a closed jar until the paint particles settle out. After settling, pour off the clear liquid and reuse. When the remaining paint sludge is dry, wrap it in plastic for disposal during collection days. Left-over paint is also a good seller at garage sales. Empty paint cans should be allowed to dry before recycling. Some localities are collecting left over paint for mixing and resale. Call the recycle hotline at 1-800-RECYCLE for what’s happening in your area.


Choose water-based paints over oil-based paint. If the paint can is marked “latex” or says “clean up with soap and water”, you know the paint is water-based. Use whitewash for fences, barns and basements. Use recycled paint such as that available from the City of Seattle.

Pesticides and Herbicides