How to Dispose of Spray Paint

Spray paints may not be the only type of paints available in markets, but they are certainly one of the most convenient to use. They are a great tool in the hands of artists for restoring old metals and even regular paintings in some cases.

Also, spray paints do a better job than brush paints, but disposing of safe disposal is not as easy as you think. Many people quickly overlook the dangers of improperly disposing of spray paints. This article will teach you why it is essential to dispose of spray paint safely and how to do it.

Why Should You Safely Dispose Of Spray Paint?

Spray paints are hazardous wastes, and safe disposal is essential to avoid causing danger to the environment. According to Waster, each can of spray paint contains 0.181 kilograms of emissions which can poison the air.

Under pressure, spray paints are highly flammable and can be catalysts for fire outbreaks when you toss them in garbage bins. Now you see that you should consider the safe disposal of spray paints if you want to keep your environment safe. Let’s see how to dispose of spray paints safely.

How To Dispose Of Spray Paints

Spray Paint Disposal

There are a few ways to safely and effectively dispose of spray paints, but you should inspect the can to know if it is empty or not. You can store, donate, or repurpose leftover spray paints, but you should treat empty cans of used spray paint with caution. Read on to learn more about how to dispose of spray paints – used up or not.

Store For Future Use

One of the best ways to get rid of leftover spray paint is to store it for future use properly. You may feel you do not need the spray paint, but you may need it again in the future. Therefore, it is advisable to store them in a safe place away from the reach of children and other people.

However, it is essential to store spray paints to maintain their effectiveness correctly. One of the advantages of spray paints is that they allow you to paint items without much labor by using the can quickly, but they can go wrong or even worse than other types of paints when you do not store them well. 

Here are the tips for properly storing spray paints:

  • Putting the lid on the spray paint can keep the contents fresh and reusable. 
  • Store it in a room between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping spray paints in a room with a lower or higher temperature may compromise their quality and make them unusable.
  • Cold temperatures can freeze spray paints; frozen items will expand and puncture aerosol cans.l
  • Keep spray paints away from spots with a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more to avoid bursting the aerosol cans due to high temperatures.
  • Store spray paints in a dry spot or gets a spray paint storage cabinet.
  • Ensure spray paints are far away from your fireplace or cooker.
  • Avoid storing spray paint beyond its expiry date.

RePurpose Spray Paint

Perhaps you are an artist and do not need a particular spray paint color anymore; you can use it in other ways. It is an effective way of disposing of spray paints, and it applies to spray paints you have stored for too long – repurpose them if the chances of reusing them are low.

One of the ways to repurpose spray paints is to apply them to coating surfaces. Coating surfaces with spray paints is an easy DIY project that can help you reach more coating areas with a minimum effort. Coating surfaces with spray paints give more quality, making them feel smooth and brighter and saving time than paint brushes.

Donate Spray Paints

Another way to dispose of spray paints is to donate them to people that need and value them. Donating the spray paints you have stored for a long time will be a better idea, especially if you are sure you won’t need them. 

You can donate spray paints to friends or families, take them to art schools, contact local Community Repaint initiatives or list them on online platforms like Freecycle Network.

However, you should ensure the spray paints you want to donate are reusable and not yet expired.

Sell It

Another effective way to dispose of spray paints is to sell them. Instead of donating it, some people, schools, or organizations may be willing to buy it. Though the disposal method is best for new spray paints you have not used, you can still get people to buy leftover spray paints reasonably.

You can also list your spray paint online to reach more potential buyers. Pabbly is a platform that lets you do this for free, but you can also search for other marketplaces you can use. Again, ensure that the spray paint is usable and is not expired.

Disposing Of Empty And Non-empty Spray Paint Cans

Disposing Empty Spray Paint Cans

How do you dispose of spray paint cans after using up the content and when the content is expired or not reusable? Disposing of spray paint cans is dangerous because it is flammable, and the first step is to be sure that the can is indeed empty.

If the can is not empty, then you should first empty it by reusing it. But, if it is not reusable, you will find a suitable disposal method for the paint can. Let’s see how to know if your spray paint can is empty and how to empty it.

How To Empty Spray Paint Can

Ensuring spray paint cans are empty is crucial in the safe disposal of spray paint, and here are the steps to check and empty spray paint cans with contents.

  • Shake the can and listen carefully to feel the content move or to hear the sound of liquid hitting it. If you sense any liquid, you should empty it.
  • Lay down a few sheets of newspapers in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors.
  • Empty the spray paint can by painting the newspaper. You will hear a hissing sound as the paint comes out of the crown; keep spraying till you can no longer hear the sound.
  • Shake the can again, and observe if it still has contents. If it does, repeat the emptying process on the newspaper. 
  • If the can is empty, it’s time to dispose of it.

Visit Recycling Centers

To safely dispose of spray paint, you can visit recycling centers nearby. You can carefully puncture the can to aid the recycling process, but you should be double-sure it’s empty.

Several recycling centers and landfills are looking for spray paint cans to recycle, and Earth911 is an excellent place to find one. These recycling centers and landfills will take them whether punctured or not. Therefore, it is not compulsory to puncture it, but it can make the job easier for them.

Taking spray paint cans to a recycling center is also suitable for large quantities of cans. If you have just a few cans, you can store them till you have a reasonable quantity.

Use An Aerosol Recycling System

If you do not find a recycling center close to you, you can consider having an aerosol recycling system. An aerosol recycling system is a machine that helps to dispose of spray paint safely and other aerosol cans. It consists of a large drum holding around 55 gallons of aerosol materials.

To use the aerosol recycling system, you must screw in a puncturing device that fits into it, then connect it to the power outlet. After that, insert the spray paint can into a section indicated on the drum. It would help if you also twisted it to lock it with the downward-facing nozzle.

The aerosol recycling system will drain the remaining content of the spray paint can, leaving the can empty and safe for recycling.

However, having an aerosol recycling system may not be feasible as it is expensive. It may not be the best choice for you because you may not be able to install it at home – although you can use the user’s manual, online search content, or consult professionals to guide you through the installation process.

Making Spray Paint Disposal Can Easier

One of the difficulties in disposing of spray paint and its can is having a non-recyclable can; therefore, it is crucial always to get spray paints with a recyclable can. It may not seem like a step for safe disposal, but it is crucial, and you should take it seriously. 

Many companies make recyclable spray paint cans, and when you buy their products, you have less worry about disposing of them.

Also, while disposing of spray paint cans, take the plastic lead to a plastic recycling center.


You will safely dispose of your spray paint cans with the tips in this post. Remember that you should not dispose of spray paints in the garbage trash and store them in a safe place with the tips I mentioned.

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