How to Get Rid of Old Paint

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After applying the final coat of paint to your DIY project, dispose of the leftover paint in accordance with local laws. Paint is a hazardous household waste. Some areas offer hazardous materials recycling programs, while other agencies may cite disposal instructions in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency. Or, you can take a greener approach.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitty litter

Recycling Paint

  • Save old paint for touch-ups. Paint over baseboard scuff marks, wear marks from door dings or chipped paint areas when performing a thorough house cleaning. Sealed paint containers last up to 10 years, according to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

  • Donate old paint to a school art program, non-for-profit facility undergoing renovations or a community improvement organization.

  • Mix multiple colors of the same type of old paint together to create a neutral gray. Use this to freshen the interior of a garage, shed, barn or basement. Do not mix oil-based, water or latex paints together.

Paint Disposal

  • Call the paint manufacturer's toll-free number listed on the paint can to check for company-sponsored paint recycling programs.

  • Contact your city government office for information about communitywide hazardous materials collection programs and clean-up days.

  • Leave the lid off of latex-based paint and let the container dry out. Some garbage services will pick up uncovered, dried out latex paint cans.

  • Mix dry, clean kitty litter into oil-based paint before disposing of it at a hazardous waste collection facility.

Tips & Warnings

  • Disposing of old paint by pouring it into the sewer, down a household drain or allowing it to soak into the ground can cause human, environmental and pet health hazards, according to the EPA.
  • Oil-based paints produce toxic, combustible fumes. Do not let a can of oil-based paint dry out through evaporation.

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