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Solid Waste Agency of Lake County
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Please read the information below to learn how to dispose of your latex paint.  Latex paint is the type of paint that can be cleaned off a paint brush by using soap and water. 

Oil-based paint is the type of paint that you need mineral spirits or turpentine to clean the brushes.  Oil-based paint and spray paint need to go to a household chemical waste collection (look under "Collection Events" for upcoming collection dates).

1.  Recycle using Earth Paints Collections System! LATEX ONLY
By offering a post-consumer collection system through retailers and at the county level, consumers can safely dispose of their leftover latex paint by simply taking their containers to one of several collection centers.  Although latex paint is not considered a hazardous material, it is made of potentially toxic chemicals that damage the environment by contaminating the food chain for fish and wildlife, contaminating ground water, causing sewage treatments to be less effective and clogging sewer and septic systems.  Earth Paints offers an option that protects the environment by recycling both the paint and its container and creating new products from the recycled materials.  Old latex paint can be processed and made into new paint, or broken down and made into an additive for other products.  Please visit them at the following link for more information, fees, and to find the nearest locations in Lake County, including many Ace Hardware Stores. or call them at (847) 231-6044. 

2.  Solidify the Latex Paint
Take the lids off the paint cans, add an absorbent such as kitty litter, sand, Oil-Dry or shredded paper.  When the liquid paint is absorbed, leave the lids off the paint cans and dispose of them in your regular waste (not recycling) for pick-up.  If the paint is already dried up in the can, leave the lid off and place it in the regular waste.  If you have full cans of paint, simply divide them into emptier cans to solidify.  Remember to leave the lids off the paint cans when placing in your waste receptacle.  The haulers do not have time to take the lids off to see if the paint is dried out and they will not take them. 

3. Donate it or Give it to Someone!
Look around and you may find somebody who needs to paint a small area or has a small project that requires painting.  Some schools, religious organizations, local theatres, or other charitable/non-profit organizations will often be happy to take unopened cans or small amounts of paint.  Talk with your neighbors and see if anyone might be able to use your unwanted cans or leftovers for a project they have.  There are also paint swap programs as well as paint recycling/drop-off programs including the one mentioned below.  You may also want to check your paint store's policy on returning unopened cans of paint.  
4.  Host a Paint Swap!
Tired of the same old colors?  Coordinate a paint swap for leftover or unused paints with family, neighbors and friends and swap up some new color choices for yourself.  If you don't want to host your own, the Goose Island Facility (operated by the City of Chicago and the IEPA host a free latex paint swap. Please link here and then scroll down for hours and a map and directions.  SWALCO HCW Events - Long Term Facilities. 
5.  Keep Painting or Use your Extra Paint as Primer!
This may sound simple, and it is, but keep painting, put on another coat and you'll be rid of that extra paint for good.  Simply let the can dry and then recycle or dispose of it.  You can also use your leftover paints (even mix them together) as primer.  
6.  Paint Something Else!
It doesn't necessarily have to need the paint. Use an old piece of cardboard, some scrap lumber, or the inside of your garage.  Just about anywhere would probably work to use up that last bit of paint.
7.  Store it for Later!
If you do save your paint for later, follow some easy tips to make the paint last longer.  Just cover the opening with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid fits securely so the paint doesn't leak.  Then turn the paint can upside down!  This creates a tight seal, and keeps the paint fresh to use again.

Residents can call the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County at 847.336.9340 or email for more information about Latex paint disposal.

Contact Us
Phone: 847-336-9340
FAX:  847-336-9374
1311 N. Estes
Gurnee, IL 60030
Walter Willis,
Executive Director

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