City of Houston offers free paint, household chemicals to anyone

November 15, 2011 6:04:47 PM PST
If you are looking to spruce up your home with new paint for the holidays but don't have a big budget, how about free?

This free paint is available to anyone. The paint is leftover from finished projects or donated items from your neighbors who may have picked the wrong color. There are also free household chemicals that you can pick up.

Sherwin-Williams, Ralph Lauren and Benjamin Moore are all name brand paints that are pricey per gallon in the retail stores, but at the Houston Environmental Service Center, it's free. It's why people line up and rush in just to score free paint.

"We put it on the shelf and you can come and get it. You pick your colors; first-come, first-serve and you can paint a whole house if you want to," said Marilyn LeDay with Houston's Solid Waste Department.

LeDay says every Friday, the city of Houston allows residents to come in and get as much free paint as they want. The paint is donated from other Houstonians who want to properly dispose of it.

"When we get the one-gallon buckets in, many times we will combine it into five-gallon buckets," she said. "Paint normally sells for maybe $25 a gallon and so if you come here and get it free, you save yourself quite a bit of money."

Paul Gonzales has fallen on hard times and really needs to paint his house.

"I got some flat paint, then I got some semi-glosses, then I've got some five gallons for the outside, then I got some colors in case I don't like the colors so I can change the colors," Gonzales said.

Girnita Island also needed paint after she got a notice from her homeowners association to paint her house. Now she can do it for free.

"Just the heartache that the homeowners association was giving me was priceless 'cause they were just on me every time. 'You got to paint your house, you've got to paint your house.' And it was just not in my budget to do it," Island said.

And it's not just paint people are getting for free.

"I'm here not only to save the planet but to fertilize my watermelon crop," one shopper said.

Also up for grabs are fertilizers, home cleaners and even Drano.

"Many times people are cleaning out their homes or a deceased relative will have items that have never been used so we take those items and put them on the shelf, if we think that they are in pretty good shape," LeDay said.

All of the items are tested and double checked to make sure they are still safe to use.

"People are excited. They can't believe that they can get materials free. And the quality of the materials we have is really great too," LeDay said.

"It's wonderful and I would tell everybody to please come on down; this is really helping me and I would not keep this a secret," Island said.

Since the city mixes some paint, expect to get a one of a kind color that will be hard to match. The free paint and household chemicals are available every 9am to noon Friday at the Environmental Service Center South location at 11500 South Post Oak Rd.


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