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Latex Paint Disposal
The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District does not accept latex paint in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program because it is not a hazardous material. Latex paint (a.k.a. water-based, acrylic, or emulsion paint) is comprised mostly of water and can be safely disposed of in your household trash as long as it is solidified first.
To solidify latex paint
- Air dry. Allow the paint to dry by removing the lid and allowing liquids to evaporate. This works well for small quantities of paint (an inch or two in the bottom of the can), and can take several days.
- Use a drying agent. Mix in an equal amount of an absorbent material and allowed to dry. Use cat litter, sawdust, plaster of Paris, Oil-dri, or “waste paint hardeners” found at home improvement centers.
- Pour thin layers (about 1" of paint) into a cardboard box lined with plastic. Allow the paint to dry one layer at a time until all paint has hardened.
Once the paint is thoroughly dry, the remaining hardened paint may be discarded with your regular trash. Leave the lid off the can so the waste collector can see the paint is hardened. Place in a regular trash bag and put it out with your weekly rubbish collection.
- DO NOT dump the paint on the ground or down storm drains where it will travel directly to surface and/or ground water.
- DO NOT pour paint down the drain. While small amounts of latex paint can safely be washed down the drain to a septic system or wastewater treatment plant, this practice should be kept to a minimum. Limit this to brush cleaning and other clean-up.
- DO NOT throw liquid paint in the regular trash. Leaking paint spills out of waste collection vehicles onto city streets making an unsightly mess that is very difficult to clean up.
See our brochure How to Dispose of Hazardous Household Products for tips on getting rid of other hazardous items found in the home.