What to Do with Old Paint

Perhaps you are finally cleaning out the garage, the basement, or an out building and you find cans of old paint.  How do you properly and safely dispose of these cans?  It all depends!  First, if the paint is still good, try to give it away to friends, neighbors, or local charities for use on their projects.  If you cannot give it away and need to dispose of it, you must first determine if it is a latex or an oil based paint.

If the paint is latex (water based), you can safely dispose of the paint in the garbage once it is dry.  If the can does not say “latex”, look for the words “soap and water clean-up”.  To facilitate the drying of the paint, open the cans and mix the paint with some clay-based kitty litter or a similar material that will absorb the paint.  Leave the open cans in a covered area away from children and pets and allow the paint to dry.  Once the paint has dried completely, it can be safely disposed of in your normal household garbage.  Please do not burn it!

If the paint is oil based, it must be disposed of at a Household Hazardous Waste Collection.  If the can does not say “oil”, look for the word “alkyd”.  Bring your oil based (alkyd) paints to the annual Household Hazardous & Pesticide Waste Collection coordinated by the Conservation District, typically held on a Saturday in September.  We will create an event on the website once a date is confirmed.