Perhaps you have empty paint containers in your home and are unsure of how to dispose of the material. We use quite a bit of paint at McDermaid Painting, and we are experts in the arena of hazardous waste disposal, which includes the disposal of materials like paints. If you are thinking about starting a new home renovation project, you may find it helpful to learn more about what classifies as hazardous waste and how you can remove hazardous waste from your home.

Paints in particular can be especially hazardous. Paints found in the home can have up to 10,000 chemicals, of which 300 are usually toxins and 150 are carcinogenic. Many paint chemicals are considered to be volatile organic compounds, or “VOCs.” Volatile organic compounds are unstable, carbon-containing compounds that readily vaporize into the air. When they enter the air, they produce ozone, which leads to air pollution and health issues such as breathing problems, headaches, and nausea, among other issues. At McDermaid Painting, we take pride in the fact that we use paints with low volatile organic compounds.

According to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, waste materials include everything from contaminated rags, wipes, empty containers, used oil, antifreeze waste, sanding/grinding dusts, and contaminated wash waters. Hazardous waste includes anything that might be:

  • Ignitable: The material catches fire under certain conditions and has a flashpoint less than 140ºF.
  • Corrosive: The material eats or wears away at metals and other materials, and has a pH less than 2 or greater than 12.5.
  • Toxic/Poisonous: The material contains toxic metals (cadmium, chromium, lead, copper, barium, nickel, zinc) or organics, as specified in regulations, or is otherwise harmful or fatal to humans (or wildlife) when eaten, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
  • Reactive Substance: The material is unstable and can react violently or explode under standard conditions, or a substance that reacts violently and/or releases toxic gases on contact with water.


Federal and state regulations dictate that you must dispose of paints and used paint containers appropriately. Regulations regarding waste products were created to ensure that waste solvents and coatings do not pollute the air, rivers, lakes and oceans, or cause harm to the public in some other way. In our business, we dispose of hazardous waste, such as paints, using a hazardous waste hauler who ships waste to hazardous waste site.

Would you like to remove paint or other solvents from your home? Let us know and we can help you with the process! Not only do we use low VOC paints, but we are also lead-safe certified through the Environmental Protection Agency. Call us at (650) 961-7415 to start a conversation about keeping your home safe from toxins.