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Paint Booth Filter Disposal Guide

Paint booth filters capture overspray from your painting and ensure you are meeting proper safety guidelines for painting that are provided by agencies like the EPA. One common question we get asked which will address today is what do you do with your old paint booth filters. Will cover the pertinent safety regulations related to disposing paint booth filters and things you may need to check prior to disposal of paint booth filters.

Paint Booth Filters Disposal Classification

Paint booth filters will be considered hazardous waste if certain conditions are present and if not they can be disposed of as standard waste. Prior to disposal as standard waste you still want to notify your local trash company as they may want you to provide proof related to the filters to ensure no hazardous compounds are present.

Determining if Your Paint Booth Filters Are Considered Hazardous Waste

Prior to disposing of filters as general waste you have to verify that your filters have not been exposed to a variety of compounds that are frequently found in paint as well as a variety of compounds. Additionally, your paint booth filters could be considered hazardous if they contain certain solvents or if they have ignitable material on them, we will cover each of the three factors so you can know if your paint booth filters will be considered hazardous waste. The list of frequent compounds is below

Frequent Hazardous Paint Compounds that Classify your Paint Booth Filters as Hazardous

If your paints have any of the compounds below mentioned which are RCRA listed compounds in the Safety Data Sheets (which you can get from your paint supplier or through their website) your paint booth filters could be considered hazardous waste. Sometimes the compounds can be combined in which case they could still classify your paint booth filters as hazardous for example Lead Chromate would be composed of lead and chromium.

  1. arsenic,
  2. barium
  3. cadmium
  4. chromium
  5. lead
  6. mercury
  7. selenium
  8. silver

If your paint has these compounds in them you will then have to perform a test to determine the amount of these compounds in your filters. The test that is required is called Toxicity Characteristic leaching Program and determines if excessive volumes of the hazardous compounds are present in your paint booth filter. To determine if additional testing is needed you can start with the totals method which will provide a quick estimate of whether additional testing is required. For the filter test to be valid the lab performing the test must have the Department of Health National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) certification. You can visit this site to search for labs that have the proper certification or visit this site for a listing.

If you do not have any of the 8 compounds mentioned above the next potential reason your filters could be deemed hazardous waste is due to the solvents that your paint booth filters contacted. Certain solvents are classified as F listed hazardous waste. You can usually determine if F listed solvents were present by referring to the SDS sheet to of your solvents and looking for references under F001, F002, F004, F005.  You can also check this document which lists the common solvent compounds that are considered F listed. If you spray solvent toward your filters during clean up you can then cause your filters to be considered hazardous waste. However, if you are diligent in only spraying solvent into waste containers, not spraying toward the filters when cleaning, and preventing solvent from being sprayed into your filters, you can usually reduce the likelihood of your paint booth filters being labeled as hazardous.

A final reason your paint booth filters may be labeled as hazardous is due to them being considered flammable. If your paint booth filters have any wet flammable materials on them they will be considered hazardous waste do to being considered as ignitable. This issue can typically be addressed by allowing the material to dry thereby removing issues with ignitability.

Additional Considerations Related to Paint Booth Filter Disposal

An additional key consideration to paint booth filter disposal is that testing will be required whenever parts of your painting process change. Any time you add a new paint to your products your using or use a different solvent you will need to reevaluate the paint to see if it contains the hazardous compounds discussed and if so perform a proper test. 

If you ever have concerns over the compounds in your coatings it can often times be easiest to consider your paint booth filters as hazardous waste and coordinate with a hazardous waste disposal company.

Remember that you will also need to keep documentation of the SDS’s of the materials your spraying, lab tests and results to determine presence of hazardous compounds, disposal receipts, and any other pertinent information your state as well as waste disposal company recommends you keep on file.

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