Can You Recycle Used Paint?


By John Voket

It’s been a full decade since the PaintCare, a national nonprofit organization created by paint manufacturers, began providing consumers with a convenient network of locations where they can recycle postconsumer (leftover) paint, stain and varnish. Still, many homeowners don’t know about this valuable outlet.

The program is funded by a fee on sales of new paint and remitted to PaintCare by paint manufacturers to handle paint collection, transportation, processing and public education.

Part of that public education campaign involves providing the following tips to consumers:
Buy right.Many people have leftover paint because its not easy to know how much to purchase in the first place, so get help estimating the right amount of paint needed for your projects by visiting for a list of paint calculators to help you paint smarter.

Store right.An unopened can of paint can last for decades if it is stored in a dry, cool (but not too cold), dark place. So even if you think you will get rid of your leftovers, head to for tips to keep your paint in better condition so someone else can use it.

Use it up.Using up what you have is a great way to reduce leftover paint. Visit for a few ideas to get you started, like using light shades as primers for other paint projects, painting a small room like a bathroom or a closet, or even the insides of drawers.

Give it away.Have your friends or relatives commented on how much they admire the colors you selected for your home? Offer them the leftovers. Churches, schools and nonprofits that do community projects (e.g., Habitat for Humanity) may be able to use leftover paintor consider donating it to a school or group that creates murals or does community painting projects.

And when you’re ready to recycle, find your closest drop-off locations at

A final tip: before dropping off paint, please call the site to check business hours and make sure they can accept the type and amount of paint you would like to recycle.

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