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What can I do with my Paint?
First-Identify Latex Paint from Oil-based PaintPaint photo courtesy of Scott Cassel-PSI
Latex paint is different from Oil-Based Paint. Here are some clues to identifying Latex Paint:
  • Is or says "water-based" or "acrylic"
  • Usually comes in a plastic container but can come in a metal container
  • Contains the words "clean-up with water" on the container
  • Dries quickly, usually within an hour

Oil-based paint has hazardous characteristics. Oil-based paint is flammable or combustible and should be properly disposed of at the Hazardous Products Center (HPC). Here are some clues to identifying Oil-based Paint:
  • Is or says "alkyd"
  • Does not come in a plastic container
  • Contains the words "clean-up with solvent", "flammable" or "combustible"
  • Dries overnight

Is my Latex Paint still good and can the HPC reuse it?
If you answer yes to the bullets below then the HPC can reuse your "Good" paint, otherwise please proceed to the next section below...my Latex Paint is "Bad", what can I do now...
  • Paint container is at least half full
  • Paint container has original label
  • Paint has not been frozen
  • Paint is not spoiled (smells sour)
  • Paint does not contain additives
  • All paint can be taken to HPC on Wednesday or Friday from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm and on Saturdays from 8:00 am-2:00 pm. The HPC is located at the Cinder Lake Landfill, 6770 E. Landfill Road. Call (928) 527-9005 for more information

Good latex paint received at the HPC is either:
  • Placed in the Drop and Swap free reuse area for redistribution to HPC customers
  • Or filtered twice, mixed and pumped into free 5 gallon buckets of reblended earth toned exterior paint

I have partial containers of Latex Paint or my Latex Paint is "Bad", what can I do now?
Latex paint after drying / solidification is not hazardous and can be disposed of with normal trash. Although all paint is accepted at the HPC, it is encouraged to dry out / solidify your Partial and "Bad" containers of latex paint. "Bad" latex has been frozen, has separated or smells foul. Watch the video on how to solidify latex paint from the King County Solid Waste Division.
Follow one of these methods:
  • Air Dry: This only works when an inch or less of paint is left in the can and is most effective during warmer months. Protect from freezing, children and pets / animals. Remove the lid and let the paint dry out completely in the can.
  • Absorbent Material: Mix latex paint with equal amounts of unscented kitty litter, sawdust / woodchips or newspaper. Mix well and allow to dry thoroughly. Paint hardeners can also be purchased from hardware stores. Watch a video on how to solidify latex paint from the King County Solid Waste Division.
  • Box / Tarp Method for Larger Quantities: Line a box with a plastic bag, free of holes or use a laid out tarp (with ends contained to prevent spills). Pour absorbent material in the box/onto the tarp and slowly mix the latex paint into the absorbent. Dry completely.

Remember: If using one of these methods, the paint must be completely dry before disposal...

Why should I Dry Out / Solidify Latex Paint?
  • Dumped illegally, liquid latex can be a hazard by plugging or damaging septic fields, overload the City's Water Treatment Facilities and/or create environmental hazards on the ground.
  • Save a trip out the HPC!
  • Waste haulers can refuse latex paint that is not completely dried out or solidified before thrown out
  • Liquids can leak out of trash collection trucks onto streets and into the environment.
  • Landfills are not designed for liquid wastes and will not accept them.
  • You can help your local Household Hazardous Waste program spend less taxpayer dollars.

How should I store Latex Paint?
  1. Indoors, out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
  2. In a dry location, raised off of cement surfaces which can speed up rusting (for metal cans).
  3. If you opened the paint container, make sure to wipe the rim before sealing the container. If the paint can is 1 gallon or less in size, cut a round piece from a plastic bag 2” larger than the can. Placing this over the top of the can before replacing the lid serve as a gasket and prevents corrosion when the lid is replaced.
  4. Use of a rubber mallet for replacing the lid or closing the container is encouraged as hammers tend to deform lids and prevent proper sealing. If you don’t have a rubber mallet, drape a rag (to prevent splatters) over the paint container and then place a block of wood over the metal can. Hit the wood rather than directly striking the can.
  5. Once the lid is securely in place, store the can upside down for an airtight seal; this method is best for paint cans 1 gallon and less. 5 gallon paint containers should be stored upright.