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Disposal of Latex & Acrylic (water-based) Paint

The best thing you can do with unused, water-based paint is to use it up.  If you cannot find a use for it (and are unable to find someone who can use it), the paint in the can must be dried up completely prior to disposal.

There are three ways to accomplish this.  All methods require drying time in a well-ventilated, covered, warm (over 60°F degree) location, out of reach of children and animals.  Dispose of lids separately; metal lids and cans may be added to a scrap metal recycling pile once residual paint has completely dried.

  1. Thoroughly mix in clean kitty litter or “Speedy Dry or Oil Dry” until the consistency resembles thick oatmeal.
    Approximate drying time = 3-7 days. 

  2. Purchase a packet of powdered paint hardener from your local hardware or paint store, and add the recommended amount into the container per instructions.  Mix thoroughly with a stir stick.
    Approximate drying time = 1 day.

  3. (Do this for small quantities only)  Place a small, shallow, cardboard or shoe box with a tight bottom seal (no holes) on top of a thick layer of newspaper.  Empty the paint into the box and let it dry completely.
    Approximate drying time = 3-7 days. 

After the paint is completely dry (not just a thick surface layer), you may bring the lid-free container to Valley Recycling for disposal @ $1.00 per dried up paint can up to 1 gallon.

Empty dry metal paint cans and can lids can be disposed for free in the metal recycle bin

Important:  Only water-based paints may be disposed of using the methods described here.  All oil and solvent-based paints must be taken to a household hazardous waste collection for disposal. Call your town to find the next hazardous waste collection date. 

Latex paint cans
Empty 1 gallon and 1 quart paint cans
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