How to Get Rid of Old Paint in Missouri


It is not unusual to find several cans of half empty paint in garages across the country. With each home improvement project, the pile of cans grows and leaves homeowners wondering what to do with the leftovers. In Missouri, lead- and oil-based paints are among many items considered household hazardous waste. There are several options for disposing of old paint of all types in Missouri, including recycling and reuse options.

  • Locate your local solid waste disposal center. There are 10 permanent household hazardous waste facilities maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The hours for each facility vary and serve one or more Missouri counties. Contact each center directly to determine if a fee will be assessed for disposal. Usable paint that is dropped off is often offered free of charge to community members via "swap shops" operated at solid waste facilities.

  • Participate in one of the community collection events sponsored by one of Missouri's hazardous waste collection facilities. Event dates vary by location and often take place in the parking lot of a church or school. The drop-off of paint and other household hazardous waste materials is usually for individuals only, not businesses or organizations.

  • Drop off paint at a fee-based recycling center. One such location is in Eureka, Missouri, and it will accept paint for a small fee. The fee is typically calculated based on the weight of the paint and includes the weight of the can.

  • Contact local charities to see if they can use the extra paint. The city of St. Louis recommends contacting local organizations that build homes for low-income individuals, churches or school theater departments that may be able to take the paint and reuse it.

  • Place latex paint cans with normal household trash. Lead- or oil-based paint cannot be disposed of in this manner in many of Missouri's 115 counties. Contact the local solid waste department to confirm requirements for latex paint curbside pick-up, which typically includes preparing the paint by allowing it to dry out and following guidelines for pick-up.

Tips & Warnings

  • The University of Missouri Extension office produces a helpful document about the safe use and disposal of paint.
  • Paint can be extremely volatile, and caution should be used in storing and disposing of unused paint cans.

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  • Photo Credit yellow paint image by Jennifer Griner from
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