Get Rid of Leftover Paint the Proper Way

November 03, 2013 1 min read

A Painter wearing a Benjamin Moore paints hat, holding a paint brush that he dipped into a paint tray with dark Benjamin Moore paint.

The EPA estimates that 10% of the house paint purchased each year ends up discarded.

Whether you’re just finishing a big remodel or changing your daughter’s bedroom color for the fifth time, it’s important to know what to do with your paint when you’re finished. While you may want to keep it on the shelf for a while before you throw it out (don’t forget to store it properly), we want to give you the resources to find the appropriate place for your paint when you’re through with it. In many states, it is illegal to dispose of paint in the trash or down drains because it can contaminate drinking and ocean water. Dispose of paint the proper way with these step-by-step instructions.

Things to Remember When Disposing of Paint

  • Latex paint is recyclable
  • Oil-based paint is considered household hazardous waste (HHW) and should be disposed of at an HHW facility in your community.
  • Do not throw liquid paint in the trash or pour it down the drain
  • Do not mix paints for storage or disposal. Leave paint in the original container.
  • Do not allow latex paint to freeze. Only store paint in areas that do not freeze. Latex paint that has frozen cannot be used again or recycled.
  • Small amounts of latex paint can be air-dried and disposed of through your normal trash collection system.
  • Only purchase the quantity that you need. Find creative uses for excess paint.
  • Protect our environment. Call 1-800-CLEANUP (800-253-2687) or call your local government for recycling advice.


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