recycling old paint

How To Recycle Paint: How To Do It the Right Way?

Recycling paint is an easy way to make sure your leftover paint doesn’t go to waste. Not only is it beneficial to the environment, but it’s also a great way to save money. There are several different methods for how to recycle paint, depending on the type and amount of paint you have.

By keeping leftover paint out of landfills, you’re not only preventing harmful chemicals from seeping into the soil, but you’re also helping to reduce the amount of raw materials to make new paint. Plus, recycling paint can also help create jobs in your local community, as well as support small businesses that specialize in paint recycling.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to recycle paint and become more environmentally responsible in your practices. In the following sections, we’ll dive into the details of the recycling process, the types of paint that can be recycled, and where you can find drop-off locations in your area.

So, if you’re ready to learn how to recycle paint and make a difference in the world around you, let’s get started!

What is Paint Recycling?

Recycling paint is the process of transforming leftover paint into new paint or repurposing it for other uses, and it’s an important part of responsible waste management.

When you recycle paint, you’re not only reducing waste and protecting the environment but also conserving resources and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling paint is a sustainable practice that can positively impact the environment and make a difference in the world.

The paint recycling process involves sorting and inspecting the paint by type, quality, and color.

Latex-based paint can be recycled into new paint or used for various purposes, while oil-based paints are more challenging to recycle due to their chemistry and federal regulations.

The recycled paint is then tested, filtered, treated, and color-adjusted until it meets the necessary specifications.

When you recycle your leftover paint, you’re contributing to a larger effort of promoting environmental sustainability and making a positive impact on the world.

Environmental Benefits

By choosing to reuse leftover paint, you can help preserve our planet’s natural beauty and reduce the amount of waste in our landfills, all while giving your home a fresh new look. Recycling paint reduces the need for virgin materials, conserves resources, and helps prevent pollution. In fact, recycling paint is a sustainable practice that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

By recycling paint, you’re also contributing to responsible waste management and promoting environmental sustainability. Product Care Recycling‘s paint program has been successful in Canada, with over 82 million liters of household paint recycled since 1994. By dropping off unwanted paint at one of the hundreds of recycling locations across the country, you can help protect marine life and waterways, and free up valuable space in landfills.

Plus, sharing paint through the PaintShare program is a cost-effective and energy-efficient way to put paint where it belongs. Recycling paint is a simple way to make a positive impact on the environment and be part of a larger community effort towards a more sustainable future.

How To Recycle Paint: The Process

When you drop off leftover paint at a recycling location, it goes through a rigorous process to prepare it for repurposing. The paint is sorted by type, whether it’s oil-based, latex-based, or aerosol, and inspected for any contamination.

Cans containing solid paint are opened, and the paint is consolidated. Workers empty oil-based paint into large shipping containers, while latex paint is sorted by quality and color, tested, filtered, treated, and color-adjusted until it meets necessary specifications to be packaged and sold.

Once the paint has been sorted and treated, it can be repurposed in a variety of ways. High-quality paint can be recycled into new paint, while lower-quality paint can be used as an additive in various concrete manufacturing processes.

Manufacturing paint with recycled content can produce up to four times less greenhouse gases than virgin paint. Recycling paint is a simple way to make a positive impact on the environment, while also conserving resources and reducing waste.

By recycling your leftover paint, you can contribute to a sustainable future and help protect the environment for generations to come.

How To Recycle Paint: Knowing Different Types of Paint

Wow, there are so many different types of paint available on the market today, and it’s important to know what kind you have before recycling it.

Oil-based paints are popular for their high gloss and durability, making them a go-to choice for furniture, cabinetry, and trims. However, their chemistry and federal regulations make them difficult to recycle into new paint or coating products.

On the other hand, latex-based paints are easy to clean up with just soap and water, and they can be recycled into new paint or used for other purposes.

When recycling paint, it’s essential to sort it by type (oil-based, latex-based, or aerosol) and inspect it for contamination. By knowing the type of paint you have, you can ensure it’s recycled properly and contribute to the reduction of waste and protection of the environment.

Getting to Know BUD Rule

Let’s make a positive impact on the environment by following the BUD rule when buying and using paint. BUD stands for Buy only what you need, Use what you have, and Drop off the rest for recycling.

By sticking to this rule, we can reduce waste and ensure that leftover paint is properly recycled. When purchasing paint, it’s important to accurately estimate the amount needed for the project. This can prevent excess paint from being left over and ultimately wasted.

Using what you have also means finding creative ways to use leftover paint, such as for small touch-up projects or as a base coat for a new project. And when there is leftover paint that cannot be used, drop it off at a recycling location for proper disposal.

By following the BUD rule, we can do our part in promoting environmental sustainability and responsible waste management.

Drop-off Locations for Paint Recycling

By dropping off leftover paint at one of the many recycling locations across Canada, you can ensure that your unused paint is properly disposed of and given a new life. Not only does this help protect the environment and prevent pollution, but it also conserves resources and reduces the need for virgin materials.

Plus, recycling paint can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is a sustainable practice that’s an important part of responsible waste management. When you drop off your paint at a recycling location, you’re joining a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to making a positive impact on the environment.

You’re also helping to free up space in landfills and protect marine life and waterways from harmful chemicals. And with hundreds of recycling locations across Canada, it’s easy to find a convenient drop-off point where you can safely dispose of your leftover paint.

So why not do your part and recycle your paint today?

How To Recycle Paint: The Oil-Based Type

Now that you know where to drop off your unwanted paint, let’s talk about how to recycle oil-based paint. Oil-based paints are popular for their high gloss finish and durability in furniture, cabinetry, and trims, but recycling them can be a bit more challenging due to their chemistry and federal regulations.

Workers at recycling locations typically empty oil-based paints into large shipping containers. In some provinces, a small portion of bulked oil-based paint is recycled into other types of coatings. In other provinces, it’s shipped off to a hazardous waste management company for testing and energy recovery at a permitted facility.

It’s important to note that oil-based paints should never be disposed of in the trash or down the drain, as they can be harmful to the environment and human health. By properly recycling your oil-based paint, you’re helping to reduce waste and protect the environment for future generations.

Recycling the Plastic Containers

Empty plastic paint containers come in different materials, with plastic #2 HDPE and #5 PP being the most common. These containers are typically sent for energy recovery or recycling, rather than being thrown in the trash. HDPE is a type of plastic that’s known for its durability and resistance to chemicals, making it a popular material for paint containers. PP is also a durable plastic that’s often used for packaging and other industrial applications.

Both types of plastic can be recycled into a variety of products, including new paint containers or other plastic items. Recycling empty paint containers is an important step in reducing waste and conserving resources. By sending these materials for energy recovery or recycling, we can help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills or pollutes our environment.

Additionally, recycling plastic containers can help reduce the need for virgin materials, which can have a significant impact on our natural resources. If you have empty paint containers made from HDPE or PP, be sure to check with your local recycling program to see if they accept these materials.

By taking this simple step, you can help protect the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future.

How To Recycle Aerosol Cans

When disposing of your aerosol cans, it’s important to remember that they require special handling due to the compressed propellant inside. Here are three steps to properly recycle your aerosol cans:

  • Check the label: Before recycling your aerosol can, make sure to check the label. It should indicate whether it can be recycled or not. If the can is empty and the label says it’s recyclable, then it can be added to your recycling bin. If the can still contains paint, it cannot be recycled and should be taken to a hazardous waste facility for proper disposal.
  • Puncture the can: If the aerosol can is recyclable and still contains paint, it needs to be punctured before recycling. This is because the compressed propellant inside the can can cause explosions if not handled properly. To puncture the can, use a screwdriver or other sharp object to make a hole in the top of the can. This releases the pressure and makes it safe to recycle.
  • Recycle properly: Once the can is punctured, it’s safe to add to your recycling bin. However, it’s important to make sure it’s added to the correct bin. Aerosol cans are typically made of metal, so they should be added to the metal recycling bin.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your aerosol cans are recycled properly and safely, helping to protect the environment.


Congratulations! You now know how to recycle paint and make a positive impact on the environment. By recycling your leftover paint, you’re reducing pollution, conserving resources, and protecting the world around us.

It may seem like a small step, but every little bit counts. Recycling paint is a simple and effective way to become more environmentally responsible and sustainable in your practices.

So don’t let your paint go to waste. Find a drop-off location near you and take advantage of this opportunity to make a difference. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference you can make with just a few simple steps.

Keep up the good work and continue to do your part in protecting the environment! Remember, every drop counts!

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