How to Recycle or Dispose of Empty Paint Cans in Philadelphia?


It can be confusing for homeowners and businesses to know what to do with construction and maintenance materials as they renovate or repair their properties. In Philadelphia, empty paint cans can be disposed of with other recycling materials. Any paint cans containing hazardous paint must be disposed of at sanitation convenience centers or during household hazardous waste drop-off days held during the year at designated locations.

  • Visit the City of Philadelphia's CityMaps portal to verify your recycling collection date. (See Resource 1) The tool allows users to search for city services and facilities using any address in Philadelphia.

  • Enter your address and search for city services and facilities information. After entering the address and clicking "Search Address," click on the "Sanitation, Recycling and Block Information" link in the "City Services" section of the "Address Information Menu." The recycling collection date will be listed, as well as the trash collection day.

  • Ensure your paint cans are empty. Unless they are latex or water-based paint, paint cans with paint inside them is considered hazardous household waste and will not be picked up by sanitation workers. If your latex or water-based paint cans are partially full, you can solidify the paint by adding an absorbent material such as kitty litter or old newspapers. The solidified paint can be set out with regular trash and the empty paint cans can be set out with your recyclables.

  • Leave your empty paint cans on the curb with your recycling. Items should be placed outside in a recycling bin between 7:00 p.m. the night before the pick-up day and 7:00 a.m. on the collection day.

Tips & Warnings

  • To request a blue recycling bin, visit the City of Philadelphia Department of Streets website or call the Philadelphia Recycling Hotline at (215) 685-7329.
  • Recyclables can also be placed in sturdy plastic or metal containers that hold 20 gallons or less marked with the word "recycling." Cardboard boxes should not be used to hold items.
  • This information is current to May 2011 and is subject to change.

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