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Paint Recycling and Why You Should Do It

Updated October 2018

Paint cans for paint recycling

Ever wonder what you do with your old paint, besides stashing it in an isolated corner of the garage?

If you have half-empty alkyd or latex paint cans lying around, you can try donating them to your local community. Plenty of high school drama clubs and community theaters need extra paint. But if reuse isn’t feasible, it’s time for paint recycling!

Paint recycling benefits more than just your DIY project. It’s also better for the environment. For example, latex paint (water-based) can transform into new paint or mixed together to make unique colors. Just using 1 gallon of recycled latex paint saves 100 kilowatt-hours of energy while keeping 115 pounds of carbon dioxide out of our precious air.

Keep in mind that alkyd and latex paint types have different disposal methods:

How to Recycle Alkyd and Latex Paint

Unfortunately, alkyd (oil-based) paint cannot be recycled and needs to go to your local household hazardous waste program. If you can’t find one, dry the paint out with kitty litter or newspaper and throw it in the garbage.

Latex paint, on the other hand, is recyclable. You can take it to any special collection events or paint recyclers in your area. Don’t just throw it away in the blue recycling bin. There are plenty of locations nearby that will happily take your old paint cans!

Where to Recycle Your Old Paint in San Francisco

  • Brownies Hardware: 1563 Polk Street, (415) 673-8900
  • Cole Hardware (all locations): 70 4th Street, (415) 200-3444; 956 Cole Street, (415) 319-6705; 345 9th Street, (415) 200-2154; 627 Vallejo Street, (415) 200-2215; 2254 Polk Street, (415) 200-3370
  • Golden City Building Supply, 1279 Pacific Street, (415) 441-0941
  • Last’s Paint, 2141 Mission Street, (415) 437-0633
  • Speedy’s Hardware, 1061 Folsom Street, (415) 699-5481

Where to Recycle Paint Outside of San Francisco

Overall, the U.S. has a solid structure of paint recycling programs. For instance, Paintcare has a cool program to recycle paint in four states. If you don’t live in one of those states, you can use the Green Directory to find a paint recycler nearby.

Don’t let leftover paint cans go to waste. Adopt reuse and recycling best practices to make a positive impact on the environment. GreenCitizen is dedicated to partnering with YOU to act and encourage real environmental change. Thank you for doing your part!

If you have any questions about paint recycling, please call us at (650) 493-8700 or chat with us online.

Written by Jake Hanft

3 Comments on “Paint Recycling and Why You Should Do It

    I have a LARGE can of totally dry latex paint to recycle. None of the above addresses are convenient for me. Is there any place south of GG Park that takes dried paint cans?
    Can I put it in the black can for Recology pick-up?

    I’m wondering how much would a green waste collection grand rapids mi impact the reduce the intake for regular landfills?

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