How to Dispose of Old Paint

How to Dispose of Old Paint

Source: Grigor Ivanov/

Does HGTV make you dream of going full throttle with the latest paint color trends? You would nail it, but you’d likely rack up plenty of waste along the way. While you were fantasizing about your home renovation, did you wonder how you would dispose of your old paint to make room for the new? Or did you skip ahead to the part where you won Design Stars?

Not to worry. We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about how to dispose of old paint.Also, when you’re ready to throw away your spent painters’ tape and the jeans you ruined when you spilled the greige, don’t forget to use drawstring trash bags from to keep things neat and tidy.

Dispose of Paint According to Type

Your options for paint disposal largely depend on the type of paint you have: oil-based or water-based.The pigments in oil-based paint are suspended in — you guessed it — oil. Oil-based paints are flammable. Oil-based paints may also be labeled as alkyd, polyurethane or varnish.

They also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs cause smog, deplete the ozone and harm wildlife. For all these reasons, VOCs are regulated by the EPA.

Latex paint is water-based. Sometimes water-based paint is labeled as vinyl or acrylic.

The EPA doesn’t regulate the disposal of latex paints. But that doesn’t mean you can pour it down the drain or toss your half-full can in the trash. The EPA may not be watching. But your state and local governments are. And many of them have passed laws making it illegal to put water-based paints in landfills or sewer systems.

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Disposing of Oil-Based Paints

Because oil-based paints contain VOCs, they’re considered hazardous materials. To dispose of oil-based paints make a beeline for your waste management facility. Call them first to find out when they take hazardous materials.Four open cans of paint on bright backgrounds

Source: Efetova Anna/

Disposing of Latex Paints

Water-based paints may not contain VOCs. But they still pollute the environment and harm wildlife if not disposed of properly. Still, you have more options for disposing of latex paint than you do oil paint.

  • Paint cardboard and dispose of it once it’s dry. Latex paint can go in the trash once it’s dry. If you have a small amount, use it to paint a piece of cardboard. Then, throw all of it in the trash once it dries.
  • Mix latex paint with a hardener. If you have too much paint to apply to cardboard, then you need a paint hardener. You can use cat litter or shredded paper. You can also purchase hardener for the job. Again, once the paint is dry, you can put it in clear trash bags for disposal.
  • Donate it to a school. Schools are often in need of paint for projects.
  • Contact non-profit organizations in your area. Any of them may be looking to remodel their facilities.
  • List your old paint for free online., Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist can help you find someone who could use your paint.
  • Take your paint to your local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Call first to find out if your location offers paint recycling.
  • Call your waste management facility. Latex paint is generally not accepted as hazardous waste in most locations. But your local facility may offer water-based paint disposal.
old paint cans in front of a garage

Source: CL Shebley/

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Disposing of Old Paint Properly May Not Make You an HGTV Star

Responsibly disposing of old paint is almost as satisfying as pulling off a honeycomb accent wall. It’s much easier, too. You may decide to leave rag painting to the design stars. You can still brighten your home with colored trash bags from!
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