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Disposing of Paint . . . 3 Green Ways

Updated on October 20, 2014

Disposing of Paint . . . Responsibly

In our efforts to become more "green-aware," there are a few things that might trip us up if we don't know what to do . . . like paint recycling or disposing of paint. A lot of us know how to recycle our trash, conserve energy and water but most of us (myself included) don't really know the effects of improper paint disposal can have on the environment . . . and what we can do about it.

So before you throw out that old paint stashed away in your basement or garage, take a look at these three easy tips for "green" disposal:

#1: Using Leftovers Yourself

Breathe New Life In Parts of Your Home or Office . . .

Take a look around the house to see if you can put those cans of paint to good use and avoid having to dispose of the paint. How?

Where ever possible, why not use up any old paint by re-painting a storage closet, utility room or basement or garage.

You might want to experiment with mixing some of your old colors and who knows . . . you just might come up with a new shade you adore.

If you are in the process of re-decorating with new hues, you may be able to use some of the light colors from your old paint stash, as a base coat.

Photo used under Creative Commons from: TechSource, on Flickr

If your old paint is in good condition (uncontaminated and has a smooth consistency when stirred) . . . why not try to find someone who could use it?

After all, paint isn't cheap and giving it away to someone who could put it to good use is a win/win/win situation for the recipient, you and the environment.

Who might want your gift of paint?

  • Local charities
  • Shelters
  • Libraries
  • Churches
  • Community Centers
  • Theater companies (or even the high school drama club)

#3: Drying Paint Out - Disposing of Paint Responsibly

When you can't donate or use old latex paint yourself, you can dry it out for proper disposal. [Bear in mind that this tip only pertains to latex paint.] Choose any one of these methods:

  • . . . Mix Kitty litter or sawdust in the latex paint and let dry
  • . . . Use a paint hardener to mix in the paint to accelerate hardening
  • . . . Pour a paint on several sheets of newspaper and air dry. When paint is dry, you can pour another layer of paint and repeat the process. You can then discard along with regular trash.

The young man in the following video, demonstrates a few more tips . . .

Oil-based and other non-latex paints

should be disposed at your local household hazardous waste collection center.

TIP: An Earth-Friendly Idea That Literally Rocks - A Really Cool Way To Re-Purpose Old Paint

Using paint hardener, your old paint and molds for pathway stones, you can make garden rocks! How cool is that?

Here are the tools you'll need:

Molds For Pathway Stones

Scepter 04241 Pathmate Random Stone Mold
Scepter 04241 Pathmate Random Stone Mold

Don't pay a professional to do your backyard landscaping! The Stone Mold Kit uses heavy-duty plastic molds that turn a little pre-mixed concrete into a dramatic walk, pathway, border or patio.


Paint Hardener To The Rescue! - A Simple Way To Dry Out Old Latex Paint

Homax 3535 Waste Away Paint Hardener, 3.5 Oz
Homax 3535 Waste Away Paint Hardener, 3.5 Oz

Waste paint hardener quickly hardens unwanted latex paint for safe, easy, and clean curbside disposal. Simply add the hardener crystals up to 2 3 gallon of any water based paint, stir, and within minutes your paint is dried out.


Quick Demo: How To Use Paint Hardener

Was This "Paint Disposal" Info Helpful? - Let me Know You Stopped by . . .

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very good Information that can be used by all to help clean up our environment. Thanks for sharing!

    • blue22d profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent ideas.

      It is amazing that the obvious doesn't always come to mind. The best way is to use the product as designed. Your ideas of a storage item, closet, etc. (or school/library) brings it home. At least the area gets a face lift and you could even donate your labor for a good cause.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great resource for green ways to dispose of paint!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow, what a great lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      Really great ideas! Thanks


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