I'm getting ready to move to a new house and am cleaning my old garage. It turns out that in 15 years in this house, I have amassed an obscene amount of paint cans with remnant amounts of paint left over from various household projects. I know I can't just throw them away. Do I have to take them to my new house and wait for the next hazardous waste disposal day to get rid of them?

— M.F., Medford

One of the great things about moving is we get to shed all sorts of detritus from our past existence, but not all garage waste can be treated equally, M.F.

Trips to the transfer station are plenty fine for old carpet remnants and rotten personal flotation devices, but those old paint cans don't have a home at the landfill or even during the twice-annual hazardous waste disposal days put on by Rogue Disposal and Recycling.

Luckily, M.F., you won't have to haul those old paint cans to your next house. Instead, take them to one of a handful of commercial businesses that take part in a paint-recycle program that is ongoing in Oregon and seven other states.

Go to www.paintcare.org, and you'll find several paint stores and lumber yards that participate in this program.

These businesses will take unwanted paint for free to reuse or recycle, regardless of the brand and regardless of where in Oregon you live.

They accept house paint, stains and varnishes during their regular business hours. They must be cans with lids and must have a label denoting what type of paint it is.

One of those stores is the Rogue Valley Habitat ReStore on South Pacific Highway in Medford, where store Director Ron McKinley says he regularly takes in paints and varnishes.

The paint collected here gets trucked to Washington, where a firm remixes it and sells it as a second-generation paint, McKinley says.

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