Paint Disposal Instructions

Got some paint leftovers? Proper paint disposal practices will allow you to dispose of old paint with minimum impact on our environment.

All home improvement painting projects result in excess materials, but paint waste disposal is not the only way to deal with these leftovers. See if you can find some other use for your old paint first:

Use it up

  • Storing paint properly will help keep it fresh so you can use it again some day.

  • Proper paint disposal

  • You can combine similar color paint leftovers and mix them in one can - oftentimes you will get a nice shade and enough paint for another project in your home. (NOTE: you can only combine the same types of paint successfully, so read the labels to know what you are dealing with - water-based, solvent/oil-based, exterior, interior, glossy, flat paint and so on.)

  • Use leftover paint for areas where the finish color is not critical - utility closets, inside the shed, etc.

  • Put on your creative hat and have fun with the leftover colors - you can paint multi-colored stripes, blocks, primitive murals or even wild abstracts on the walls in your garage, basement, hobby room or your kids' room!

Pass it on

  • Give your paint a new life by offering it to your friends, neighbors or family members. You never know - they might use it for their own small house painting projects.

  • You can also donate paint to a local charity, high school drama department, church or Habitat for Humanity chapter where they can put it to a good use.

  • Post an ad on a FreeCycle Network bulletin board and someone may offer to take the paint off your hands within minutes!

Recycle it

  • Some major paint manufacturers are now starting to make recycled paints - ask your local paint store if they accept leftover paint for re-blending.

  • Most recycling centers accept empty paint cans.

Dispose of it

Even though not all paints are considered hazardous waste, they can all contaminate the environment, so proper paint disposal methods are important.

  • Latex Paint Disposal:
    To dispose of latex or water-based paint, it must be solidified first. Mix the paint with mulch, cat litter, shredded paper or sand and let it dry up with a lid open in a well ventilated area, away from children, pets and direct heat. Once it's hardened, you can put it in your household trash.

  • Oil-based Paint Disposal:
    Oil-based paint must never be put in the regular trash and should be taken to a local hazardous waste collection site. Click here to find a local oil-based paint waste disposal facility.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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