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Question asked 2018-05-10 15:00:04 ...
Most recent comment 2018-08-08 00:00:01
Health and Safety
This may be redundant, I didn’t see too much on it here though. My question is about waste management. I’m an oil painter, so paint including lead white, and mineral spirits are my concerns. I have not painted for about two years because I am a hypochondriac, and my current studio space is a basement apartment. I am trying to get over it, and have been trying to find some clarity. I live in Utah, and I actually contacted my state office of solid and hazardous waste, and explained what I was doing, the waste I was generating and an estimate at the quantity. They indicated to me that even though I was engaged in activities for profit, my residential status and volume would allow disposal into the municipal waste stream. I also contacted my local transfer station, and they will accept up to 5 gallons of waste at a time for 8$, which is very reasonable. My problem is safe storage. In a day, I might generate 3 or 4 paper towels with a few milliliters worth of paint, and some mineral spirits stained areas. For final brush cleaning I will use two small bowls of water and wipe the waste out on a paper towel so as not to have it go down the drain. I am storing these materials for a week or two in a justrite oily waste can until I take it to the transfer station, how safe is this given my living environment? Does solvent evaporate out of those cans? Am I trapping volatile compounds and releasing them every time I open it? The can says empty every night which makes no sense. I am not opposed to “solvent free” however large quantities of drying or vegetable oil on rags still present a combustion risk. And varnishing procedures are not accomplished without use of solvent. So I can’t entirely get away from solvent. I am also curious what artists were doing with waste throughout history. There were thousands of artists working in Paris in th 19th century. Where did all their painting rags go? Anyway I apologize for my neurosis I just want to keep working, but my anxiety makes me think that I’m storing waste that will explode into flames at any moment.
Answers and Comments
You are not unfounded in your concerns about flammability...which is why we included some information about this issue in our Health and Safety document located in the Resources section which you can find here. Give it a quick read and let us know if you have additional questions!
It is probably best to submerge any rags that have come into contact with oil or solvents (in water that is).
Yes there is nothing "physically" dangerous about doing so (they will likely float to the surface of the water in the enclosed mason jar but as long as it is sealed it should be no problem).
It appears that zip-lock freezer bags are made from
polypropylene. A check on its solvent sensitivity indicates that it is
moderately sensitive to mineral spirits, B = Good, Minor Effect, slight
corrosion or discoloration. It is strongly effected by turpentine, D = Severe
Effect, not recommended for ANY use.
However, even if you only stored the most refined, non-aromatic
solvent, I would not trust that system for non-frozen liquids, and never for the solvents used in oil paintingx.
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