Latex Paint Disposal

Latex paint is not harmful to the environment so it can be dried out and tossed in your trash. The paint cans are very recyclable.

Step 1

Find a work area outside, away from children, pets and out of the rain. Locked screen porches and balconies work well. Because some old latex paint contains mercury, it’s important to dry out paint in a safe place. Sunny summer days are the best time to dispose of latex paint.

Cans of Paint

Step 2

Dry it out. Remove the lid and let the paint dry in the can. Stir the paint occasionally to speed drying process. You can also mix the paint with cat litter, oil dry or sawdust in the paint can or in a cardboard box lined with plastic and let it dry. You can also brush paint in layers on newspaper or cardboard.

For larger amounts of latex paint, pour one-inch layers of paint into a cardboard box lined with plastic and allow the paint to dry one layer at a time - thin layers will speed up the drying process.

Step 3

Throw the dried paint and other materials in the trash. Leave the lids off paint cans, wipe them out with an old rag or paper toweling and toss the rags/paper in with the paint. The empty paint cans can then be placed in your recycle bins. The paint cans do not have to be spotless but there cannot be paint dripping down the sides or bottom. It must be dried.

Clean Sweep

Do not bring latex paint to a Clean Sweep for disposal. Latex paint is not a hazardous chemical and will break down in the environment. It costs $1.50 for each pound disposed of at Clean Sweep. The money spent on latex paint can be used for the disposal of more harmful chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, oil products, etc.

Jefferson County is no longer accepting latex paint recycling at the Clean Sweep Events, only oil based paints and stains. View dates and times of Clean Sweep events (PDF).