What to Do with Old Paint

By Rachael on April 26, 2022

Paint disposal doesn’t seem like it should be complicated, but it can be. Not only is it messy (obviously), more importantly, it can be hazardous.

Oil-Based Paint
Believe it or not, oil-based paint is considered household hazardous waste. That means you can’t throw it in with your regular trash because it is dangerous to the environment. To properly dispose of oil-based paints, contact your municipality, county or township. Many communities offer special collection location or specific days for hazardous waste disposal.

Water-Based Paint
Examples of water-based paints include latex and acrylic. It is not hazardous, but it is undeniably messy when not disposed of properly. Latex paint can be disposed of with your regular household trash or taken to a Granger Disposal Center, but it must be dried first. Here’s how:

  • For a small volume of liquid paint, remove the lid from the can and let it sit out until the paint has completely dried.
  • For a large volume of liquid paint, mix in equal parts cat litter or soil in it to thicken it. Let sit for at least one hour before disposing of the mixture with your trash.

Safety tip: Make sure you leave your opened liquid paint in a safe location where children and pets can’t get to it.

After following these drying instructions, leave your paint cans out (with the lids off) next to your cart or bags on trash day so your driver knows that it has been properly dried.

If the paint is still usable and you don’t want to throw it away, consider these options:

  • Reuse: Maybe it will come in handy for a future home improvement project, either for you or a neighbor, friend or a family member.
  • Recycle: Look online for paint recycling options in your area.
  • Donate: Some local churches, schools, charities and theater groups accept unwanted paint. That Well-Bred Brown might just work perfectly for a high school play set.

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