Paint Waste

Paint Disposal

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Discarded paints generally are not found on EPA's "Lists of Hazardous Wastes." However, discarded paints are considered hazardous waste if they exhibit certain characteristics, such as ignitability or toxicity. Paint that is considered hazardous waste is subject to federal regulation, but states however, may impose more stringent requirements than the Federal regulations and must be contacted to determine what requirements might apply when managing paint wastes.

Some paint formulations may contain toxic metals (mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium, etc.) that will cause the waste paint to be a hazardous waste. Other paints can be regulated as hazardous because of their ignitability or if they’ve been mixed with spent solvents.

Generally, wastes from households are not subject to hazardous waste regulations. Homeowners may discard the paint themselves as a municipal solid waste. Also, many communities operate a household hazardous waste collection or drop-off program where individuals are encouraged to keep paint cans separate and take them to the collection centers for recycling or disposal.

Contractors, auto collision repair shops, metal fabricators, wood finishers and other businesses that handle paint need to be aware of the environmental rules for paint-related waste. Fortunately, there are many waste companies that list paint as one of the waste types that they accept.

Locations

To search for locations near you, use our waste vendor locator.