Unless you have painted the majority of your house a single color, you probably have little odds and ends of paint left in buckets around your house. It is great to keep these for paint touch-ups in case you get some dirt, a dent or a mark on your wall. However, paint does not last forever and sometimes you have a color that you are never going to use again. You want to make sure proper waste disposal is followed when getting rid of house paint.
Paint can last at least 2 years if stored properly. You need to make sure the lid is back on the can and it is airtight. You also don’t want to store it at too cool of a temperature. Above 50 degrees is best. Before using the paint again, check for lumps or clumping. This means the paint is starting to dry up and you may not want to use it anymore.
If you have decided to dispose of the paint the first thing you should consider is the type of paint you have. It could be latex, acrylic, oil or water based. Another thing that you need to consider is where you live. Some states have paint take back programs, while others let you put dried up latex paint right in your regular trash. So while we are providing guidelines below, double check with your community on exact details.
Oil based paint is considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Some communities have locations that you can make drops at whenever you want, while others only have set times when hazardous waste materials are accepted. This is one of those situations when you should do a quick search online for your county’s policies.
Latex and water based paints are not hazardous and can be disposed of in the regular trash. In fact some communities won’t accept latex based paint at a hazardous waste facility because of the cost to dispose of it that way, when this method is not necessary. Before you throw your paint away make sure you let it dry out so it won’t make a mess. If you have less then a quarter of a can you can let it sit in the sun for a few days. If you have more then a quarter of a can you can buy a product that will harden your paint. Look for it in your local paint or hardware store. Other options are adding items like mulch, kitty litter or shredded paper to help absorb the paint and make it dry quicker.
If you want an alternative to disposing of your paint consider donating it to a church, community organization or theater group. You can also mix different latex paints together and use them as a base coat for another project. House paint waste disposal can be a last option if these other ones are not of interest to you.