Latex Paint Disposal

The IEPA states "At every collection, in every part of the state, paint is the most common material delivered by Illinois citizens. Today's latex (water-based) paint has a very low level of toxicity. Disposing of it at a household hazardous waste collection day is very expensive. Therefore, the Illinois EPA encourages people with unwanted latex paint to use other options.” The main concern with interior latex paint is not with the paint itself, but with the fumes released by the paint as it is drying and over time. The fumes are made of organic compounds, or VOCs, which are gases. The actual gases depend on the formula of the paint. Generally, the more heavily tinted and glossy the paint, the more VOCs are released. If this is your concern, many manufacturers have Low VOC options available and more importantly, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines; open windows and fill the area with fresh air!

Paint Can
Latex paint is not accepted at Household Chemical Waste (HCW) events because it is considered non-hazardous. Listed below are various ways to dispose of it:

  • Recycle with Earth Paints Collections Systems. (fees are applicable)
  • Recycle with ePaint Recycling Solutions.
  • Check with Partners for Waste Paint Solutions Collection Sites.
  • Recycle with your local Ace Hardware. (call ahead for details and costs)
  • Donate or give the paint to someone. Local groups such as schools, small theaters, religious organizations, etc. might be willing to take unused paint.
  • Keep painting. With another layer, the paint may be gone! Or, paint something else.
  • Keep the paint to use again by covering the opening with plastic wrap, closing the lid tightly, and turning it upside-down. This creates a strong seal to keep the paint fresh for future touch-ups and projects.
  • Attend a paint swap at the Goose Island Facility.
  • If your paint cans only hold remnants of paint or they are empty - let them dry out completely and then recycle the cans.
  • As a final option, you can prepare your latex paint for disposal through the regular trash cycle - we don’t recommend this method for large quantities or as continual solution. To prepare your latex paint please complete the following steps:

    • Step 1. Pick 2 to 3 cans of paint to prepare for disposal (depending on liquid volume). Haulers will not accept high volumes of paint from any household in Lake County. Please be considerate.
    • Step 2. Remove the paint can lid.
    • Step 3. Stir in Kitty litter, Oil Dry, Sand or Shredded Paper to the consistency of thick oatmeal. Preparing the cans the night before your regularly scheduled garbage pick-up will provide time for the mixture to properly solidify.
    • Step 4. Put lids back on.
    • Step 5. Place the treated paint inside of your garbage bin on your regular pick up day.
    • Again, we don’t recommend this method for large quantities or as continual solution.