Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

Do you have additional gardening questions? Please contact us. Here's how.

Horticulture Questions and Answers

How can dispose of old paint?

You don't have to throw unused paint in the trash. In fact, the trash collector may not take partially filled cans of paint, landfills may not want them, and it may even be illegal to pour the paint down the drain -- yet every household in America seems to have at least one or two half-empty cans of paint in the basement.

Of course, the best way to prevent such unwise disposal of paint is to purchase the right amount of paint for the painting job. Careful measurement of the job and reading the can for coverage estimates is important.

If storing unused paint for later use or touch-up, be sure to replace the lid tightly and store it in an area away from extreme heat, cold, flame sources and out of reach of children and pets. Also store the paint can upside down to preserve the paint quality.

Dried paint in the can may normally be disposed of with your regular household trash. Be sure to leave the lid off, as many waste haulers cannot accept closed cans.

Paint thinners can be recycled right at home. The waste or sludge will settle to the bottom of the can. Pour off the liquid and reuse it. Add an absorbent material such as cat litter, sawdust or shredded newspaper to the remaining residue and let it dry completely before discarding it in the trash.

Partial cans of usable paint may be donated to art or theater groups, thrift stores, neighborhood associations and community centers. Ask friends and neighbors, too. That half-can of enamel may be just the ticket for painting that old chair or end table.

Oil based paints and solvents should be saved for disposal at a household hazardous waste collection facility. Leave them in their original containers and do not mix them together or add other substances to them.

Latex paints are readily recyclable and can be remixed into paint as good as new. Latex paints in the St. Louis area can be recycled at Paint Solutions at 776-0071, or during one of the household hazardous waste collection days scheduled throughout the year.