Painted up 

“You can put latex paint cans in the regular trash as long as the paint has dried up."

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Renee, I'm sure you have answered this before but I can't find it in the archives. Is it ok to put latex paint cans, with or without a bit of leftover paint into the trash? Or should they all go to a toxic drop site?

Thanks, Deb


No worries, sometimes the archives get outdated and could use a fresh coat — er, I mean, answer.

According to the ToxDrop Division of the Department of Public Works:

“You can put latex paint cans in the regular trash as long as the paint has dried up. It is suggested that people can throw some kitty litter into the paint to help dry it out. This only works if there isn’t that much paint in the can. If the can is pretty full, then bring it in to ToxDrop. Also, you will need to mix the dried latex paint can into the regular trash. For some reason, if the trash guys see paint cans, they will not pick them up. Of course, people can always bring their paint to the ToxDrop sites.”

It’s a shame that paint comes in a can that is recyclable, yet there’s not really an environmentally responsible way to empty the can enough to actually recycle it. If you have any thoughts on this matter, I’m all ears (or eyes).

Piece out,


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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