Many paints contain mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin. Also paints have numerous volatile organic compounds which can be extremely dangerous to the environment as well. Some old paints still have lead in them another dangerous neurotoxin. Paints can be recycled easily and when they are, these dangerous compounds stay out of the environment from harming animals and getting into our own drinking water supply.
Alkyd/oil paints are flammable and could create a combustion with other materials it mixes together with once in the garbeage can/truck/ dump. Also, due to outgassing of wet paint, pressure builds up in the can; which can also lead to an explosion. Many companies now are producing low voc/no voc paints. If the paint is entirely dried up, then it can be disposed of. If not, then find something to paint, donate it to habitat for humanity, or even call the manufacturer to find out what your options are.
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