Recycling Leftover Paint
Take ALL unwanted oil-based paint to HazoHouse. Oil paint, stains, varnish, and thinners are toxic and flammable and should not be dumped or disposed of as trash.
Latex Paint: Dry it Up, Use it Up, Pass it On!
Dry it up!
Latex paint (also known as acrylic paint) can go in the trash. HazoHouse no longer accepts latex paint unless it was manufactured before 1989, when latex paint sometimes contained lead or mercury. (This criterion applies to both residential and business customers.)
All can contents MUST be dried up or solidified before being placed into the trash. Liquid latex paints and stains can spill while awaiting collection or during the collection process. Paint leaking into trucks and onto roadways poses tremendous cleanup challenges. Any liquid or soft paint will be left as unacceptable by trash collection crews. Remove lids from cans so your hauler can see that the can is empty or contents are solidified.
If your can is 1/4 or less full:
Simply remove the lid and place the can in a safe, well-ventilated area. The latex paint will dry in a few days and then you can place the container in the trash. Check the paint’s dryness with a stick.
If your can is more than 1/4 full:
Kitty litter, mulch, sawdust or shredded paper may all be used to solidify paint. Just mix it in with the paint. Some hardware and paint stores carry packets of paint solidifier that cost just a few dollars. Follow the direction on the packet. Once paint is a tacky, oatmeal-like consistency and will not spill out, it is ready for disposal.
Use it up!
Small amounts of paint can be mixed with other colors or mixed together and used as a primer coat or on jobs where the final finish is not critical. 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. Staff at the paint store can help you figure out how much paint you will need for your job.
Pass it on!
The South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity Restore accepts paint cans that are at least 75% full, including interior, exterior, oil and latex. Also consider donating unopened cans of paint by listing them on www.2good2toss.com. 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 paint.
Not so fast!
Remember: If your can of latex paint was manufactured before 1989, it might contain lead or mercury. Please bring old latex paint to HazoHouse for safe disposal. Take all unwanted oil-based paint (also known as alkyd paint) to HazoHouse. Oil based paint, stains, varnish, and thinners are toxic and flammable and should not be dumped or disposed of as trash.
Call Thurston County Public Works at (360) 867-2491 or or email ThurstonSolidWaste@co.thurston.wa.us.
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