To a reader feeling eco-guilt about painting the inside of their house:
You are part of your environment. If clean and neat-looking spaces help you feel good and enjoy life, then that IS permaculture. Zone Zero-Zero (our minds) and Zone Zero (inside the house) ARE permaculture too.
Some places sell partially used cans of paint for cheap. I think our dump/landfill in my county in Florida does, or used to. Also, locally owned paint shops are often able to mix paint in just the quantity you need so you’re not left with a bunch of excess.
Also of course, eco-friendly paints are becoming more widely available. When shopping, a couple of terms to look for are milk-based, and VOC-free (or maybe it’s low-VOC).
Regarding the recycling of cans: I doubt they get recycled. But maybe they do! And I’m honored that you think I would know the info for every locality. (My brain doesn’t retain that info even for my own locality!)
But, it varies from place to place, so you’d need to call your local landfill, local recycling company, local govt to find that info out.
Here in Florida, I took on a bunch of paint that was left in the garage by the previous owners. I have been able to use up most of it, and I then reuse the cans for various purposes til they rust out, which here in my humid place by the ocean doesn’t take long.
This same reader also asked another excellent question: “So if something doesn’t feel neat and clean to me, then I should fix it? Or should I fix myself instead? That is the dilemma or conundrum for me.”
My answer: That varies for all of us.
1) If it were me, I would check to see if there is consensus with your home’s other human inhabitant(s), re whether the space looks/feels/seems neat & clean or not.
2) I would also check in with myself, use some of my “inner landscape” tools & processes, look for patterns in my life, to feel if it’s a thing within myself. Which, if yes, then I would then address using the tools/resources I have found effective for inner work.