How To Properly Dispose Of Unused Paint

How To Properly Dispose Of Unused Paint

Do your part to properly dispose of your unused paint!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10 percent of house paint purchased in the United States – which is around 65-69 million gallons is discarded. Did you know that one ounce of paint can contaminate as much as 12 cubic feet of soil? Now is the perfect time to learn how to discard paint properly.

The best solution for paint and solvent disposal is to take it to your local hazardous waste disposal site where they can recycle it. This is a must for oil-based paint and solvents. Earth911 is a great resource to search for recycling solutions in your neighborhood.

If there isn’t a hazardous waste site near you, there are other options for latex paint that you can consider.


Check around to see if you can find a new home for your unused paint. You can reach out to community organizations and schools to see if they have a need for paint. Here’s a great example - many schools and non-profit community theater groups have small budgets and donated paint can be perfect to use on set walls. Community centers, churches, animal shelters and other charitable organizations might also be able to use donated paint. Visit websites or social media pages of groups in your area to find contact information.

No luck on finding an organization to take your unused latex paint? Make sure you are properly disposing it. Never pour paint down the drain, into a storm drain, on the ground or directly into the trash. The secret to properly disposing your latex paint is to turn it from a liquid into a dry state.

How to

Take a five-gallon bucket and line it with a trash compactor bag. Fill the bucket half full with kitty litter and pour the excess paint into the can. Lift the bag out of the bucket and set aside for several days or until the contents are a solid mass. Don’t have kitty litter? You can also use a box full of shredded paper to dry out the paint. Once the paint is completely dry, it’s then safe to throw it in the trash. Leave the lids off of empty latex paint cans until the paint inside is dry and toss them in the trash. You can also check to see if your community offers recycling of old paint cans.

Paint companies are looking at earth friendly options. For example, Sherwin-Williams has greener paint options that have low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds.) Professional companies like Fresh Coat Painters can help you by properly measuring your rooms and getting the best amount of paint for your project. Visit our website to learn more.