How to recycle/dispose of
paint - latex/water-based
Weekly - trash
County facilities accepting paint - latex/water-based:
The best ways to manage latex, acrylic, and water-based paints and stains are
In addition, latex paint may be safely disposed of in your regular household trash.
Paints and stains must be dried up before being
placed into the trash. Please be sure that your paint is completely solidified. Liquid paints and stains can spill while awaiting collection
or during the collection process; paint leaking into trucks and onto roadways
poses tremendous cleanup challenges.
Please do not bring latex paint to hazardous waste collections.
tax dollars are spent each year disposing of latex paint as hazardous when,
in fact, it is not hazardous.
Small amounts of paint can be mixed with other colors or bulked
together and used as a primer coat or on jobs where the final finish is
Avoid creating waste at the start. Buy only what you need. One gallon of paint will cover between 250 and 350 square feet, depending on the porosity of the surface to be covered. A gallon of paint will cover closer to 250 square feet of surfaces that are more porous.
Dry it up!
- All residual/leftover paint must be hardened or dried. Any liquid or soft paint will be left as unacceptable by collection crews.
- Remove lids from cans, and put both lids and cans into a plastic trash bag along with your regular household trash. Reminder: trash bags must be set out for collection in rigid
- If you have Montgomery County-provided trash collection service, you may place up to four paint cans out for collection at one time. [Please remember that trash cans must be under 45 pounds each, per County guidelines for household trash collection.] For more than four paint cans, please schedule a free special
bulk collection. If you have privately-arranged trash service, please
contact your hauler for more information.
- The paint can you put into your trash will actually get recycled: Household trash is processed in the County's Resource Recovery Facility. There, it is incinerated, and the dried paint burns off of the metal can. Steel (including paint cans!) and other ferrous metals are recovered from the remaining ash, and are sent to metal processors for recycling.
1/4 or less full
- Simply remove the lid and place can in a safe, well-ventilated area.
- Cans 1/4 or less will dry in a few days.
Cans more than 1/4 full
Waste Paint HardenerTM is available at McCormick Paints stores and
most area hardware stores. Mulch, kitty litter, or shredded paper may also be
used as a bulking/drying agent. (Waste Paint HardenerTM is also handy
for handling spills. One bag can thicken and contain a spilled gallon.)
- Protect your work surface by lining it with old newspaper.
- Add Waste Waste Paint HardenerTM to can. One packet treats up to one gallon of unwanted latex or water-based paint.
- Stir and mix thoroughly. For best results, add up to one cup of water. Water will activate the Hardener.
- Set aside for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, paint will have a tacky, oatmeal-like consistency, but will not spill out.
- Your paint is now ready for disposal.
unopened cans of paint. Many schools, religious groups, community groups, and theater groups will accept unopened cans of paint, especially white paint. Even a neighbor may need some extra paint.
Also, check your paint store's policy on returning unopened cans of
Read health and paint tips for indoor painting.
"How to recycle/dispose of..." Index
This information last updated 11/25/2011.