How to Recycle or Dispose of Unused Paint

UnusedPaint-ClaffeysPaintingWe’ve all been there…we’ve just completed painting part or all of our home.

How often have you done that and used every last drop of paint that you had purchased for your project. Probably not very often.

In fact, more often than not, you’re left with a couple of inches, either from the top of the can or the the bottom, of leftover paint. In fact, it is estimated that 10% of all purchased paint in the United States is discarded.

Now you have the decision of what to do with a partially full paint can. You pretty much have 3 options:

  1. Store it for future projects or touch-ups
  2. Recycle it
  3. Dispose of it

Storing Paint:

If your plan is to store it, remember that if stored properly, paint can last for a very long time: Latex for up to 10 years, and Oil Based up to 15 years. Sealing the can correctly is the key to successful storage.

Store your leftovers in their original containers, cover the opening with plastic wrap before covering it with its lid…use a hammer to close it up nice and tight. Date the can and label it with the room or wall it was used on. Make sure the color number is visible in case you need or want to have more mixed to match.

Recycling Paint:

1 – If you have a sizeable amount of leftover paint, one way to recycle it is to donate it. There are several types of organizations who could benefit by your leftovers such as, non-profits, high school drama departments, charities, community groups, or even shelters.

2 – Find a company or organization that recycles paint. Habitat for Humanity has a program that they have developed for re-mixing leftover paint, and either re-selling or re-using it.

Another company that has a paint recycling program is Paint Care.

PaintedPictureFrames-ClaffeysPainting3 – You are another source of recycling paint…many of you have a creative side and can think of countless projects you could use your leftover paint for:

  • Spice up older, tired looking furniture such as chairs, dressers, or bookcases.
  • If you’re crafty you can paint clay flower pots, picture frames, wooden serving trays, or a variety of other objects around your house.

Disposing of Paint:

Paint isn’t something you can just toss in the trash can to be picked up curbside…it is toxic and can be dangerous to the environment if not disposed of properly.

  • Latex paint is relatively easy to dispose of if there is only a small amount left in the bottom of the can.
    • You can let it sit outside in the sun until it is totally dried out and hard, at which point it can be thrown in the trash, can and all.
    • If there is too much in the can to let dry out, it’s a simple process to add an equal amount of cat litter to the paint, stir well, let thicken and let sit for 1 hour. Once the paint is dried out, leaving the lid off, toss the can into the trash.
  •  For oil based leftover paint, find a hazardous waste center, or wait for your community to have an event that you can take your leftover or empty paint cans to. If you need assistance, you can probably contact your local hardware store who may be able to help you find a location near you.

If you have a painting job you’d like done without any effort or cleanup on your part,
call Claffey’s for a free estimate – (425) 888-3634
We”ll even prepare your unused paint for storage.

Claffey’s Painting is a full service painting contractor serving Western Washington, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas Counties. We have painted over 7000 homes and would enjoy the opportunity to help paint yours. We can guide you through all the decision making processes so you get the right paint for the right job, and the professional job you’re looking for.