How to Dispose of Paint Cans

Continuous development around the world creates a constant need for paint on old and new buildings. 

However, most of us don’t bother about the proper disposal of paint cans when the painting is finished, whether it’s at home, in businesses, or in factories.

Typically, thin sheets of steel or alloy are used to make aerosol cans. Because these elements contain carbon, paint cans are exceedingly dangerous for people, animals, and the environment if disposed of improperly.

How Can I Safely Dispose of Paint Cans?

The paint residue that may still be present in these old cans is exceedingly toxic. So, it is necessary to get rid of the used paint cans, and they shouldn’t be tossed out with the trash.

You can follow the guidelines listed below to properly dispose of paint cans without endangering people or the environment. But first, it is essential to know why you need to dispose of them properly.

Why Paint Cans Shouldn’t Be Thrown in the Trash

The old, empty paint cans’ carbon content is what causes the air to become more carbonated, which has a terrible impact on the environment. 

These old cans cannot be dumped in the trash bin since the components in spray paint cans are also under high pressure. If these cans are exposed to high temperatures, there is a potential for an explosion. High pressure inside the garbage truck can also cause an explosion.

The leftover paint in any of these aerosol cans is also quite harmful to both the environment and your health, increasing your chance of developing conditions like cancer, among many others.

In some regions of the world, you can be fined for disposing of used paint cans with regular garbage. Due to the presence of highly hazardous components in the paint cans, the local authorities have strict laws for the safe disposal of the paint and paint cans. These regulations are established to ensure the safety of the environment and the general public.

How to Dispose of Latex Paint Cans

The following are some of the most important guidelines that you need to follow if you want to dispose of used latex paint cans.

1. Ensure the Can is Completely Empty

The first thing you should do is make sure the paint cans are fully empty.

If there is only a little paint left in the can, you should open the lid and allow it to dry entirely naturally. You can put it in a well-ventilated area as it is important to thoroughly dry up the can before disposal. Depending on the paint, it can take anywhere from 2–4 hours for it to dry completely.

 To speed up the drying of the paint, you can use the professional paint hardeners available at the Krud Kutter Store on Amazon.

2. Take the Can to a Recycling Facility

We are surrounded by several communities with reliable paint recycling centers. Your empty latex paint cans are accepted by many of these recycling facilities.

This service is free, and you can find it near you by searching online at is a good place to start.

You should try to look up the local administration’s website as well. This will make it clear to you whether or not your local government provides recycling services.

Alternatively, you have the choice of putting them straight in the recycling bin.

3. Place It in the Trash if It’s Not Recyclable 

You can also place your used latex paint cans in the trash if they are completely dry. Otherwise, it cannot be disposed of in regular garbage.

One thing that needs to be kept in mind while placing latex paint cans in the trash is to make sure the lid is off of the can.

How to Dispose of Oil-Based Paint Cans

Oil paints can be more dangerous than latex water-based paints since they are combustible. You must handle them carefully while disposing of them.

The following are some crucial actions that must be taken into account while disposing of oil-based paint cans.

1. Make Sure The Can is Empty.

Checking to see if the can is entirely empty or not is the first and most important step.

It is strongly advised to use up the paint if it is still in the can since oil-based paint is quite harmful.

If by chance there is some of the oil paint that is still present in the can and you don’t have any place where you can use it further, the best thing is to brush it onto the newspaper or anything else.

This way, you can empty the can and dispose of it properly without any risk.

2. Review the Local Policies

When getting rid of oil-based paint cans, we advise you to check the local regulations in your area. You’ll learn the guidelines regarding oil-based paint can disposal in your community.

Due to the high level of risk associated with these oil-based paint cans, each municipality has its own regulations. You should visit the website of your municipal authority to look up local regulations.

3. Throw Cans in Trash if Permitted

If your municipal administrative regulations allow it, you can dispose of your toxic oil-based paint containers in the garbage.

Making sure the can is entirely empty is the most crucial factor to take into account.

Before throwing the can in the trash, you should take off the lid. If you have a lot of paint cans to trash, it might help to learn How to Get New Garbage Can From Waste Management.

4. Visit the Neighborhood Hazardous Waste Facility.

Municipal authorities in many places provide designated areas where you may dispose of hazardous waste that cannot be put in your regular trash.

You can bring your oil-based paint cans to the toxic waste centers and dispose of them there safely. You may also see if they provide hazardous waste pick-up in your area by checking online.

How Can I Dispose of Empty Spray Paint Cans?

Spray paint containers differ from latex or oil-based cans. Due to their extreme pressure, these spray cans pose an explosion risk if handled improperly. So, it is strongly advised to avoid modifying aerosol cans. Don’t subject them to intense heat either.

You can safely dispose of spray paint cans by following the important steps listed below.

1. Empty the Bottle First.

To begin, locate some newsprint in your home and spread it out on the floor.This is done to thoroughly deplete the spray paint can.

Spray paint should be thoroughly shaken before dumping. It will indicate whether or not the bottle is fully emptied.

If it’s empty, you’ll hear the usual sound of air; if not, spray paint onto the newsprint until it’s completely empty.

You may also give the remaining paintings to anyone who wants to use them.

It is also necessary to safely dispose of the mineral spirits used for thinning the paint. You might want to see How to Dispose of Mineral Spirits.

2. Check Your Local Regulations

It is strongly advised to review the rules and regulations of your community because each municipality has various policies regarding the disposal of spray paint bottles.

You may go to the local government’s website or give them a call to find out how to dispose of spray bottles.

If your community lacks a suitable location to dispose of hazardous waste, you can do so with local waste.

3. Sell Spray Paint Cans to Interested Businesses

You can contact the businesses that will buy your used aluminum cans if you have a lot of spray cans you want to get rid of.

Many of the nearby businesses are interested in purchasing the numerous spray cans made of aluminum or steel that are available. By conducting an online search, you may get a list of spray can purchasers that are interested.

You will benefit from this in two ways: first, you will properly dispose of your spray cans; second, you will make money.

Frequently Asked Questions for Paint Cans Disposal

Can Empty Cans be Repurposed and Recycled?

Empty paint tins can, of course, be recycled or used again. These containers can be put to various uses around your house once you have washed them out.

You can either creatively customize them to add them to your living space or just utilize them to store various household items.

Furthermore, keep in mind that paint cans are often composed of steel, which can be heated, dissolved, and reused.

Additionally, it contains a tin coating to prevent rusting or corrosion, making it suitable for recycling at most recycling facilities.

However, you will need to adhere to the recycling center’s guidelines, which could require you to entirely remove the old paint before bringing the cans there.

Can I Donate the Extra Paint?

You can think about giving paint to nonprofit organizations if you still have a significant amount in the container that is neither useful nor exchangeable at the store. These gifts may be put toward municipal improvements or the adornment of city monuments.

Additionally, these groups could utilize the paint to assist low-income or elderly people who need to paint or remodel their houses.

You can occasionally reduce your tax liability using this strategy, which is also free for you.

Are Old Paints Accepted at Lowe’s or Home Depot?

Unfortunately, as of 2022, neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot accept used paint for recycling.

On the other hand, if the paint you bought is brand new and within 30 days, you can return it for a full refund by presenting the relevant paperwork.

Depending on where you live, various Lowe’s and Home Depot locations may have different old paint policies. So, it is wise to call your neighborhood store to confirm before you want to donate or recycle the paint.

In addition, a lot of Sherwin-Williams retail locations accept used latex paint for disposal (but not oil-based).

Bottom Line

Most paints used in houses are safe to use and not very harmful unless it’s old lead-based paint. However, if you don’t dispose of the leftover paint and empty cans properly, it can be against the law and dangerous to the environment.

It is vital to take the necessary actions in order to be aware of the procedure that is simple, quick, and in accordance with local laws.

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