Where in the metro you can take care of all those old paint cans — for free

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Experts say the average American household has 60 pounds worth of old paint cans taking up space in the basement or the garage. Even worse, most homeowners don’t have the first idea of what to do with all that old paint.

But if you ask the staff at KC Water’s Household Hazardous Waste program, it seems many people in the metro are starting to figure out where to take all of that old paint and more.

“Everybody’s been at home and not working for the first part of COVID,” said Robert Fort, environmental manager with KC Water’s HHW program. “So now we’re getting outstanding numbers, numbers beyond what we normally see.”

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The facility on 4707 Deramus Ave., near the Missouri River, off of N.E. Choteau Trafficway, is open for drop-offs Thursday through Saturday. Residents of more than 30 metro communities (on the Missouri side) can drop off up to 600 pounds of household hazardous waste for free.

“Please be patient because you’re going to be waiting 45 minutes, up to an hour,” Fort said.

On the Kansas side, most county governments have a similar program.

Much of the old paint is eventually recycled and sold by KC Water at a sharp discount. That’s been idled, however, during the pandemic. Much of the used motor oil that’s dropped off is refurbished to help make asphalt. Paint thinners and other flammable paints are used to help create Portland Cement.

“I enjoy knowing that we’re going to keep this earth clean and beautiful,” Fort said. “My old boss used to say ‘every day is Earth Day.’”

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