Residential Design series Responsible Painting

June 26, 2018




IF you are repainting your house or are considering hiring a handyperson or professional painter there are a number of issues you should consider before you begin.

The most important of these is what you or your contractors intend to do with the all the leftovers from each days painting. Gone are the days when after a long days paint, you irresponsibly chucked the leftovers down the drain.

Environmental Laws.

It is now a major offence to pollute our waterways. Pollution includes for those who don’t care, the dumping of any paint, oil or water-based and any oil based or toxic cleaning fluids, into our storm water drains or down sewerage outlets. There are now many laws to prosecute those who don’t care or couldn’t be bothered. Minor breaches of the environmental laws can result in an infringement notice up top $1,500.00. More serious breaches can lead to jail and or million dollar fines. So if you are an environmentally friendly owner before you employ anyone ask them whether they have an environmental management plan for their jobs.

Here are a few tips that may help you create an environmentally friendly workplace.

  • Develop an environmental friendly management plan for the disposal of your waste.
  • Minimize the amount of waste you create by being sensible in your choice of colours and schemes. A different colour scheme in every room will generate a greater amount of waste than a simple theme though the house.
  • Ensure your storm water drains are covered before the contractors or handymen arrive.
  • Create a designated cleaning area and a safe method of disposing of the waste.
  • Inform the contractors before they quote your job that you expect them to include the cost of sensible waste management in their quote.
  • Do not hose waste into the gutters or drains.
  • Install spill prevention and clean up procedures before you begin to paint.
  • Have a safe secure storage area for paint and cleaning materials away from the storm-water outlets.
  •  Make sure everyone associated with the contractor is aware of your environmentally friendly attitudes.

Waste disposal and waste management of old paint and the effluent created when cleaning up after painting is not an easy or inexpensive task. However it is not impossible and if we like to see exotic water birds in our natural habitat we all need to be responsible.

All of the waste transfer stations have collection areas for household chemicals. You will also find that most municipal councils run free chemical collection days to help you dispose of unwanted paint or chemicals in an environmentally friendly way.

Dealing with the daily cleaning chore when painting requires a more immediate solution. Brushes and containers that have been doused in Oil based paint require mineral turpentine to clean them properly. When you buy your containers of mineral turps make sure you have a larger container to store the waste in. This can then be taken to the waste station when the job is completed. Once the brushes have been rinsed in the turps they will need to be rinsed in hot soapy water to complete the job. I have found that a load or a couple of bags of Sydney sand is a good method of disposing of this waste and the waste from water based paints.  Once everything has been washed you tip the remains into the sand. The sand can then be disposed of once the job is complete. Everyone appreciates clean unpolluted waterways and beaches. You too can be part of the solution.

Good building and design!

Note: The views expressed in this article are of a broadly based nature and are in no way to be taken as the basis of an individual design. Should a reader wish to pursue the ideas expressed then at all times we recommend they consult with the appropriate professionals. 


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