How to Dispose of Old Paint Cans


How to Dispose of Old Paint Cans

What should you do with old paint cans? In most communities, just tossing them into the garbage isn’t an option. There are rules regarding the safe (and environmentally friendly) disposal of paint cans. We recommend checking with your local community or county’s requirements. However, here are a few essential things for you to know about paint disposal.

  • In addition to following local rules on paint disposal, always follow the brand manufacturer’s guidelines on how to dispose of latex and oil-based paint.
  • You shouldn’t throw away liquid paint because it can contaminate the environment.

Latex Paint Disposal

Check with your local waste collection to understand their guidelines for disposing of latex paint. Most communities will allow dried-out latex paint to be disposed of through regular garbage collection but with specific requirements. For example, many prefer that latex paint be dried, not liquid, to be disposed of through garbage collection.

If you have a small amount of paint left that is not dry, you can leave the lid off and let it dry out naturally. Alternatively, you can pour the paint onto a surface covered with newspaper and let it air dry. After the paint has dried completely, you can safely dispose of the newspaper and dried paint.

You can add cat litter or shredded newspaper to dry more significant amounts of paint. Stir the mixture and let it air dry inside the can. Once completely dried, you can dispose of it in the regular garbage if it meets local guidelines. Alternatively, you can purchase a paint hardener available at most home improvement stores. Follow the hardener’s directions.

How to dispose of Oil-Base Paint

Unlike latex paint, oil-based and alkyd-based paints are considered hazardous waste. They can harm drinking water sources and the broader environment if disposed of improperly. Therefore, it is essential to avoid throwing away oil or alkyd-based paints in regular garbage.

Instead, you should contact your local waste management to find out how to dispose of such paints. Most communities have a local hazardous waste drop-off site for expired paints or allow you to leave them on the curb during your community’s hazardous waste collection day.

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