Savannah's Earth Day celebration features the popular RecycleRama, which has made spring garage clean-outs free of any eco-guilt for years.
This year's drive-through recycling extravaganza will run from 8-11 a.m. April 19 on Park Avenue (enter from Drayton Street) and will accept tires, electronics, batteries, light bulbs, waste cooking oil, motor oil, Goodwill items, pharmaceuticals and paint.
But take note, recyclers: Only oil-based paint - no latex - will be accepted this year.
The move to limit this item - RecycleRama's most popular one - is based on two factors, said Laura Walker, environmental administrator for the Savannah Water and Sewer Department. First, latex paint, which is water-based, isn't all that problematic at the landfill. RecycleRama's focus is on more toxic items that can leach into the water supply if they're disposed of improperly.
Plus, it was getting very pricey to recycle paint. The city used to get the recycling service donated, but no more. In 2012, the city paid $23,000 to have 7,000 gallons burned for energy at a cement kiln.
So what do you do with your leftover latex paint? Walker offered these tips:
Keep painting: Put that paint on the wall, where it blends perfectly with what you just put up there. Sure, it's extra work - and just when you thought you were done - but you'll be rid of that excess paint for good. Simply let the empty can dry and recycle or dispose of it.
Keep painting, the sequel: Paint an old piece of cardboard, some scrap lumber or the inside of your garage. Just about anywhere would probably work to use up that last bit of paint. Again, let the can dry and recycle or dispose of it.
Keep painting III: Find somebody who needs to paint a small area. Some schools or local theaters will take some small amounts of paint for scenery.
Keep painting, the procrastinators' version: If you have ever kept paint for touch-ups, but then found the paint is unusable because when you finally get around to that chore you find a yucky dry layer inside, Walker has your number. To make sure the paint lasts, she said, cover the opening with plastic wrap and affix the lid tightly. Then turn the paint can upside down to create a tight seal and keep the paint fresh.
Kitty litter to the rescue: If all else fails, you can throw away paint in the trash. Just dry it out first. Add kitty litter, sawdust or shredded paper to the can and mix it up. When the liquids are absorbed, dry the mixture out or dispose of it directly.