Managing Waste Paint

All paints, including both latex and oil-based products, can pollute groundwater, so never throw liquid paint products into your trash. However, there are methods that will allow you to legally and safely dispose of latex paint in your regular trash.

If the paint is usable consider sharing it with a friend, neighbor, or relative.

Latex Paint (water based) in a solidified form is not a hazardous waste. The following are instructions for preparing the paint to be disposed with your household trash. Remember, it must be dried and solid before disposal.

  • Add kitty litter, sand or shredded newspaper into liquid latex paint and mix well
  • Leave the lid off and set aside
  • Allow it to completely dry
  • Dispose of the dried paint in the trash.


Purchase packets of “waste paint hardener” at home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot or select independent hardware stores. Each packet will treat up to 2/3 of a gallon of latex paint. Simply empty the packet into the paint and stir (as per manufacturers instructions).

Oil-based paint, stains, and varnishes are hazardous in any form and should be taken to a Household Chemicals Collection event.

Please visit our collection events page or events calendar for a complete listing of the 2015 Household Chemical Collection events in Western Pennsylvania and detailed program information. For more information contact Michael Stepaniak at PRC at (412) 488-7452 or [email protected].


Get answers on where to responsibly recycle and dispose of your household chemicals locally.