Recycle Latex Paint

Instructions (Do It Yourself) for Recycling Latex Paint:

  1. Carefully lay out new plastic film (polyfilm) in a well ventilated area. We suggest 4 mil polyfilm spread out in A CONTAINMENT enclosure; such as bracked 4 x 4 posts nailed together.
  2. Second step is to pour out left over paint over the plastic. Take care to keep the no thicker than 1/8 of an inch. Spread out the paint with a stir stick or make shift spreader made of cardboard.
  3. Wait for paint to dry; about 12-48 hours depending on temperature and humidity.
  4. Completely dried out latex paint and stain can be disposed of with normal garbage; check your local regulations.


Every house painting project should have some left over paint or stain. It is a good idea to have one or two gallons of touch up paints available in case the substrates are damaged or high traffic need “freshening” before the next major painting job. However larger quantities should be re-used on other projects, donated to charity, or recycled. Facts about the amount of left over paint in the US: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculates that annually nearly 70 million gallons of paint are left over in the United States. Imagine 27.6 billion square feet each and every year ( 303 square miles).

Check the label on the paint can. Coatings manufactured before 1978 could contain lead, many paints made before 1991 could contain mercury. Both materials should be listed on the paint label. Coatings containing lead or mercury should be taken to a household-hazardous-waste collection facility. Recycle it. Some city/municipalities offer recycling programs for old paint and empty paint cans. Water-based, or latex, coating can be recycled into new-coating or it can even be used to create non-paint products such as cement. Oil-based, or alkyd, coatings is usually used for fuel blending-meaning it’s burned to create energy at a power plant. To find out whether paint recycling is an option in your area, contact your municipal recycling or household-hazardous-waste center.

Dispose of Latex once the latex paint is dried it can be safely disposed of in the garbage, or local a waste facility. Cans can also be dried out and disposed. Water-based paint is treated as hazardous in only a few states-including California, Washington and Minnesota-and is still generally accepted at hazardous-waste facilities Oil-based coating is always considered hazardous and should be disposed of at a household-hazardous-waste collection facility. Many reputable painting contractors will recycle your left over coatings and solvents. This is the same system we use in our video on recycle paint.

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