The Recycle Bin: Carboard and paint cans


1. Error last week.

When the typesetting machine got done with us last week, it left out a crucial word in the first section. After the list of things that Hannaford can recycle, and the note that crinkly plastic bags are unacceptable, it should have said :

Do NOT include the following. They are considered contaminants and could jeopardize the recycling programs:

NO food

NO cling wrap

NO prepackaged food bags including frozen food bags (e.g., prewashed salad or frozen vegetable bags)

NO plastic that has been painted or has excessive glue

NO other bags or films

NO degradable bags

EXCEPTIONS: bags inside cookie, cracker, and cereal boxes that look like wax paper are recyclable even though not deformable. If they really are paper, or if they are the ones that are silver and look like foil, they can NOT be recycled. Trash those and recycle the box itself.

You can request a one-page document with the complete list by sending me email at [email protected]

2. Cardboard

Cardboard boxes are thoroughly recyclable, but please break them down flat before putting them out. It makes handling them much easier at every step of the way. Removing tapes and labels is not required, but will also make life easier for the people who will need to handle the boxes later.

3. Can I recycle paint cans?

In general, it turns out we can! There are limits, but here’s how it works.

There is a state-run program called “PaintCare”, which is supported locally in two places. One is the Maine Environmental Depot, and the other is our local Sherwin Williams stores.

Sherwin Williams will take up to 5 one-gallon cans per household per day.

1. They will recycle paint cans that have more than 2″ of paint in them. It can be latex house paint, oil based house paint, primer, stains and sealers, varnish and shellac.

2. They will NOT recycle empty paint cans. When the paint has dried, those go into the trash.

3. They take cans bought in other stores.

4. They do NOT recycle paint thinner, two component paint (like boat paint), aerosols, other chemicals, unlabeled or leaking containers. These are hazardous waste, and need to be taken to Household Hazardous Waste Day, or delivered to a place like The Maine Environmental Depot.

The Maine Environmental Depot is in Auburn (Environmental Projects, Inc. , at or 207-786-7390, They will also only takes paint cans with some paint in them. They are concerned about the paint, which they recycle, and not the can. If the paint can is fully empty it needs to go to the landfill. You do need to make a drop off appointment with them. Address 664 Washington Street North, Auburn.

The $1.50 environmental fee you pay when buying a can of paint is mandated by the State, and goes to environmental cleanup efforts.

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