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Before you pick up a brush ...

September 10, 2006|From the Washington Post

Summer is high season for home improvement projects, so there are likely to be pyramids of leftover paint cans sitting in garages by this time of year.

Here are some tips on reducing, reusing, recycling and removing leftover paint.

* Don't purchase more than you need. Before buying paint for a project, calculate the approximate amount needed. Ask a sales associate at a paint store to help with an estimate based on square footage, or use a paint calculator, which can be found on manufacturers' websites as well as at www.homedepot.com.

* Store it properly. Paint will last longer if stored correctly. Cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap (wax paper for oil-based paints) before closing the lid and gently tap with a hammer to secure. Store in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures, and out of the reach of children and pets. Storing paint upside down can preserve quality. Cans exposed to heat can expand and leak.

* Reuse and recycle. Ask friends or family if they can use leftover paint, or try local charities, nonprofit organizations, theater groups, school drama departments or churches. If not, hold onto it until the next household hazardous-waste collection in your community.

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