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How to Dispose of Old Paint

Posted by Nolan Painting on May 1, 2013

After your painting project is complete you most likely will have leftover paint. Some people like to hold onto that paint for future touch-ups. But those who are ready to dispose of it will need to do so in an environmentally-safe manner.

Note that it is never okay to dump any type of paint down the drain!! Paint is a hazardous material.

Tips on How to Dispose of:

Water Based Paint (also known as latex or acrylic paint)

In most townships, you are allowed to put water-based paint cans in the trash only if the paint in the can has completely hardened into a solid, dry mass. No liquid left over can be put in the trash because it is considered to be a hazardous material.

It is not a good idea to leave your paint can outside with the lid off to dry out because not only will it take several years for it to dry (even the smallest amount), it won’t completely dry up but instead will skin over, meaning the top only hardens and underneath remains liquid.

What you need to do is harden the paint, then put it in the trash. You can mix kitty litter into the paint or even sand. These absorbents will soak up the wet paint and enable it to dry.

It’s always a good idea to also contact the township where you live to get information on how to dispose of any hazardous material.

Oil based or Alkyds Paints

These types of paints or “hazardous materials” cannot be put in the trash or dumped down the drain or even hardened.

Instead counties have drop off sites for its residents to dispose of their old paint. People can drop off any type of toxic material at these specified locations. Typically, your county will have a dedicated drop-off site arranged for its residents four times a year.

Contact your county to learn the system and schedule.

Chester County
Delaware County
Montgomery County
Philadelphia County