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How to Dispose of Paint Properly and Safely

 (modified Jan 13, 2023)

Many chemicals require special removal, but not many people include paint in this category. Perhaps you've just finished working on a bathroom or bedroom remodeling project and are in need of disposing old paint. It’s true, however, that paint can’t simply be tossed the way you might throw out old food or used paper. Trashing paint the wrong way can lead to serious consequences. You may be asking yourself, "how do I dispose of old paint?", and we've got the information for you.

Old Paint Cans

How Do I Dispose of Old Paint?

Before you decide which method of paint disposal is best for you, you’ll need to determine what type of paint you have to dispose. Here we’ll list the most common types of paint that home owners buy from their local hardware stores:

  • Oil-Based Paints
  • Latex, or water-based paints

Disposing Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints are often considered hazardous waste because of the additives in them. See if you can identify any on the can label, but in case you can’t, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Keep the paint in the can and leave it open to air dry; add an equal amount of kitty litter, sawdust, or a commercial paint hardener to shorten the process. Once it’s dry, take it to a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility to ensure it’s disposed of safely.

Some States have locations where you can take your paint and have it properly disposed of. Check out PaintCare.org to see if there is a location near you.

Disposing Latex-Based Paints and Water-Based Paints

Latex-based paints or water-based paints are some of the most common type of paints you can find from your local hardware store. Latex-based paints and water-based paints should also be dried first, and can likewise be mixed with drying materials, but there is one major difference: these paints are generally not considered toxic material. As such, they can be tossed into the trash like other waste materials once it’s dry.

However, it’s important not to dump it (or oil-based paints) in the grass or down your drains, as this contaminates the water, soil, and surrounding environment. Should your latex paint have an off smell before you proceed to dry it, chances are it’s already spoiled and needs to undergo the paint disposal process sooner rather than later.

Used Paint Cans

Repurposing Used Paint

Latex paint can be salvaged for later use by remixing it with newer paint, so if you plan on doing more paint jobs in the future, it may be a good idea to save it until you need it. Be sure to seal it tightly and store it in a cool, dry place so that it can last you a while.

Can Old Paint Be Donated?

You’ll be glad to hear that your old paint can be reused by someone else and doesn’t have to be wasted. There are plenty of non-profits that will take old paint to use it for community programs and initiatives. If you’re wondering how you can dispose of old paint, perhaps consider donating it to your local non-profit. Here are a list of non-profits that take old paint:

Habitat for Humanity

As one of the most well known non-profits around the world, Habitat for Humanity accepts all kinds of donations, and that includes old paint. Habitat for Humanity uses old paint to paint homes of the less fortunate.

Global Paints

What’s great about Global Paints is that this organization has a “Zero Paint Waste Program”. Through this process, they will schedule a pickup time to collect the old paint you need to dispose of. They serve in over 40 countries, and have received over $8 Million in paint donations. If you plan on disposing old paint, why not provide it to a good cause like Global Paints?

Local Paint Donations

Another option you have is to contact your city and see if there are any local organizations in need of old paint, such as schools or shelters.

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How do I dispose of Old Paint cans?

If you have some old paint cans lying around and need to dispose them, you can toss them into the garbage. These cans are unfortunately not recyclable. All you must do is ensure they are properly clean and free from any old paint that may be stuck or hardened on the paint can before disposing it.

Whether you’re decluttering or simply don't need it anymore, knowing how to dispose of paint properly is much better than simply emptying it down the drain. If you aren’t sure where to start or don’t know where to go, however, contact Bin There Dump That. Though we can’t accept paint in our loads, we’d be happy to assist you in finding the proper drop-off center or another place to get rid of whatever you have left. Find and call your local Dumpster Consultant for advice on disposing of paint in your local area today.

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