Did you know that Americans throw away as much as 69 million gallons of paint annually? I bet not as it is a staggering amount by any standard right?

The truth is that paint is a recyclable product, but the disposable methods tend to vary, as different types of paints need to be disposed of in different ways according to the economics of recycling. What you choose to do with your leftover paint establishes whether that paint will go on to have another life or not after you discard it.


So Why Should You Start Recycling Your Excess Paint?

Not disposing of your paint can be harmful and toxic to our environment, as some paints contain heavy metal like mercury or lead as well as being highly flammable.

There are many ways to recycle paint. The highest quality of latex paint is usually separated and converted back into recycled paint to be used again. The impact of recycling paint is positive as it requires fewer resources, yet retains the original paint quality. In most cases, reusable paints of the same color are put into a tank where their color and texture is mixed again and adjusted with colorants and additives to achieve the final color of choice.

Paint that can’t be recycled has other eco-friendly purposes and can be transformed into a product used to manufacture cement, ensuring 100% recycling of paint.

Recycling a single gallon of paint saves almost 100 kilowatt-hours of energy and keeps 115 pounds of carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere.


Why You Should Dispose of Your Paint Safely and How to Do It?

Some kinds of paint are considered to be hazardous waste and require safe and proper disposal as they contain heavy metals, are flammable and can’t be used after long periods in storage. The water-based paints such as sealers, stains and varnishes contain harmful ingredients like mercury and are classified as chemical waste.

Lead is another harmful product that is found in paint and can damage nerve connections, particularly in young children and can also cause brain and blood disorders.

Separate your paint into the following two groups:

  1. For Disposing Latex Paint
  • Add an equal amount of cat litter to your can of latex paint.
  • Mix the cat litter into the paint until it becomes thick enough not to spill over or till it dries out.
  • After which you can discard the dried paint in your garbage with its lid off.
  1. For Disposing Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is not as likely to go bad as latex if it has not been exposed to extreme temperatures and was kept properly sealed. Simply remove the paint skin and stir well prior to painting.


Five Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Wastage of Paint


  1. Avoid Overbuying Paint and Buy Eco-Friendly Paint as Much as Possible

10% of all paint sold annually is discarded simply because too much of it has been purchased for each project, so buy as close to the amount that you need as possible. Try and buy paint that has low chemical content, as these types of paint are biodegradable and less harmful to the environment in the long run.


  1. Store Your Unused Paint Safely

Cover your unused paint can’s mouth tightly with plastic wrap and shut the lid, after which you should turn the leak-proof paint can upside down when storing. Make sure that your paint is out of reach of your pets and children and in a cool environment that won’t allow the paint to freeze or dry out.


  1. Mix and Reuse Your Latex Paints

Latex paints can be mixed and reused. Reusing latex paints for any functional paint jobs and base coats is still a much more eco-friendly and economic way to reuse your old paint.


  1. Repurpose Your Empty Paint Cans

Repurpose your old paint cans to decorate your home by:

  • Converting them into flower pots
  • Using them as coin banks
  • Making homemade candles
  • Using them as dustbins
  • Making outdoor lanterns out of them
  • Storing your child’s toys


  1. Look for Local Paint Reusing and Disposal Programs or Donate Your Paint

Check with your waste hauler as well as any community recycling programs who accept paint cans. Another way to recycle your leftover paint is by finding someone else who needs them. This is beneficial to both you and the people who need them, as they don’t have to buy a new can of paint. Ask around in your community to find out whether anyone needs any spare paint. If you can’t find any takers for your paint then dispose of your paint at any hazardous waste facilities near you.]


By Erich Lawson, Recycling Advocate, Compactor Management Company

Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog on Compactor Management Company.