Homeowner getting ready to dispose of paint cans after painting project in Raleigh.

How to Dispose of Paint | Tips for Recycling Old Paint

Whether you’re tackling a larger paint project and giving your walls a fresh coat of paint, or you’re touching up some of your favorite pieces of furniture, it’s likely that you’ll have some paint left over once you’re done. Now the question is, what do you do with it? You can’t just toss leftover paint in the trash or pour it down the drain. This can lead to serious environmental (and even legal) consequences. In this blog post, we’re breaking down how to dispose of paint the safe, responsible way!


How to Dispose of Paint

If you have leftover paint, it’s important to NOT dump it down the storm drain or on the ground when you’re done. Eventually, it will make its way to streams and creeks, causing water pollution. Paint can seep into the soil and water, which can be a threat to animals and the environment. 

Before disposing of paint, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the paint can for proper disposal guidelines. 

It’s also important to check your state and local guidelines for proper paint disposal methods, as regulations differ from place to place. Some communities offer special programs or collection sites for hazardous waste, including leftover paint. 


How to Dispose of Latex Paint

While latex paint is less harmful than oil-based paints, it still requires proper disposal to prevent negative impacts on the environment. 

Don’t dump it into the sink, grass, street, driveway, or anywhere it could reach a storm drain or water source. 

After cleaning latex paint-covered brushes and tools with soap and water, it is recommended that the wastewater be disposed of down a drain connected to a sanitary sewer system. 


How to Dispose of Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is considered a hazardous waste due to its toxic components. Read the manufacturer’s label for instructions on how to dispose of oil-based paint safely. Do not dispose of this type of paint into a sanitary sewer system. 

How to Dispose of Leftover Paint

If you have leftover latex paint that you want to dispose of in the trash, make sure it is completely hardened first. If you have a small amount of paint left, leave the lid off and let the air harden it. If you have a larger amount leftover, you can buy a paint hardener or simply sprinkle sand or kitty litter into the paint, which will absorb it and allow it to harden. 

If you have a lot of leftover paint that is still in good condition, you might want to donate or recycle it instead. Just make sure the paint is still good, doesn’t smell, and hasn’t expired. You can also store it properly for future use or paint touch ups. 

You can reach out to local organizations or nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity, to see if they will take it and use it on their own paint projects. You can also take leftover paint to a local recycling center or landfill and they will dispose of it safely for you. 

By following these guidelines and tips for disposing of or recycling paint, you can ensure you keep the environment cleaner and healthier, while also minimizing waste. 


If you’re looking to complete a paint project in the Raleigh area, we’d love to partner with you and handle the project from consultation to paint disposal. Visit our contact page to book your free consultation with our team today!

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