Do you have Oil Paint or Latex Paint?
Oil based paint and stain are to be treated and disposed of as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). Please see the HHW pages for information on disposal. Latex paint is water-based and is considered non-toxic. See information below.
An easy way to tell the difference between oil and latex is to look on the can at the cleaning instructions. If it says to clean up with water then you know you have a latex paint.
Unlike oil-based paints, which are considered HHW, today's latex (water-based) paint has a very low level of toxicity. Disposing of it as hazardous waste is unnecessary and very expensive, so most facilities do not accept it. Therefore, the Illinois EPA and Kane County encourage people with unwanted latex paint to use other options.
Buy a smaller can. The best way to reduce waste is by buying only as much as you need.
Use it up. Add an extra coat or paint something else. Use an old piece of cardboard, some scrap lumber, or the inside of your garage. Let the empty can dry and recycle it.
Recycle it. Earth Paint Collection Systems (www.earthpaintscs.com or 847-231-6044) may have locations near you to recycle unused paint. Recycle empty paint cans and lids; a thin coating of dried paint on the inside walls and bottom is ok. ReStore in Elgin will also take unopened/unused paint; 800 N State Street, Elgin, 847-742-9905.
Donate or share it. Find a friend or neighbor who needs to paint a small area.
Dry it out. Dried latex paint can be disposed of in your regular household trash. Add kitty litter, sawdust, or shredded paper and stir it in to help the paint dry more quickly. Once solidified, place cans in trash, lids off (in fact you can recycle the lids). If you have large quantities that you need to get rid of all at once, call your waste hauler to inform them and ask how many stickers you will need to attach. Usually it is about three cans for one sticker.
Store it for later. If you want to save the leftover paint for touch-ups, just cover the opening with plastic wrap, and replace the lid securely by hammering it down.
Click here for a list of Ace Hardware stores participating in the Paint Recycling Program in Kane County.