Paint Disposal

Disposing of unwanted paint can be difficult because paint is considered a hazardous waste that can leech into the ground when in liquid form. Here’s a tip for drying out paint to simplify disposal.

Stir sawdust or cat litter into the container until the paint is covered and let it sit until the mixture is dry. Depending on the regulations in your area you may be able to discard the dried paint with your household garbage. Check with your state environmental protection agency for specific guidelines in your area.


  1. I live in California, where we started recycling in the late 60s. At most of our local dumps, there is a place where you can leave paint, fertilizers, cleaning products. These are put onto shelves where others can came take what they want. It’s a good place to check for something before you go out and buy it. Recycling in action.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Gay Ann. You’re right, many municipalities now accept old paint and other semi-hazardous materials, and make them available for the taking. The problem is that most homes have their trash picked up at the curb, and never visit the landfill. In any case, thanks for the reminder that one person’s trash is another’s treasure–or at least perhaps their next latex topcoat.

  3. Hi there,

    Why not propose that people offer their old paint cans for giveaway on a website such as Craigslist? I have no doubt that they’d get scooped up real quick by an artist, etc. Seems like such a waste to just toss them in the trash.

    I generally love these Simple Solutions segments!


  4. In Austin, TX we have a hazardous waste collection site. At that site they take all used paint, mix it together, then re-color it and sell large containers to the public at discounted prices. Win/win for everyone!!


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