Disposing of Leftover Paint at Home
Have you found a large amount of paints in your home? Did you know that some paint are able to be disposed of safely at home while other types should be brought to the Brown County Hazardous Material Recovery Facility.
Follow these guidelines for safe disposal:
NOTE: Paint generally falls into two categories;
1) oil-based paints and stains which are flammable and therefore considered hazardous
2) latex paints which are water-based and non-hazardous
IDENTIFYING OIL-BASED PAINT VS. LATEX PAINT
Check the label to determine what type of paint you have:
Oil based paints and stains are considered hazardous materials. Look for the word “flammable” or “inflammable” and directions that specify to clean up or thin with a solvent.
Bring these kinds of paints to the Brown County Hazardous Material Recovery Facility for proper disposal. Visit browncountyrecycling.org/hmr-hours-location for information regarding location and drop-off hours.
Latex paints are non-hazardous and soluble in water. Look on the label for the word "latex" or "acrylic" along with directions that specify to clean up or thin out with water.
Latex paint can be disposed of with your regular trash if it is completely solidified.
SOLIDIFYING LATEX PAINT
Choose one of these options for safely solidifying latex paint at home:
Remove the lid and let the paint dry out in the can; protect from freezing and rain as well as curious kids and animals. This method works best when an inch or less of paint is left in the can and is most effective in warmer months.
Mix latex paint with an equal amount of cat litter, stir in completely and allow to dry
Line a cardboard box with a plastic bag. Add an absorbing agent such as kitty litter, sawdust or shredded newspaper to the bottom of the box. Pour the paint into the box so that it forms a thin layer (about 1 in deep) and allow the paint to harden. Repeat this process until all of the paint has hardened.
Mix latex paint with a latex paint hardener; stir and allow to harden. Paint hardener can be purchased at your local hardware store. Follow the directions on the package.
Since state law prohibits placing any waste with free-flowing liquids in the garbage, paint should always be dried before being placed in the garbage. Paint that has not been properly dried can pose a waste disposal problem for local governments, waste haulers and landfills, costing them time and money.
DISPOSING OF DRIED PAINT
Once latex paint is completely hardened, place dried out paint and the empty container and lid in the trash. Both metal and plastic empty paint containers are not recyclable and should be placed in your curbside trash bin for disposal.
For printable instructions and more information on how to properly dispose of oil-based paints, visit browncountyrecycling.org/paint.