old gallons, old cans, recycle paint, get rid of old paint

Completing a painting project often leaves homeowners with a crucial question: what to do with the leftover paint? This guide, brought to you by Sisu Painting, provides a comprehensive approach to managing leftover paint in a way that’s both effective and environmentally friendly.

Efficiently Managing Leftover Paint

Deciding how to handle leftover paint, be it several gallons or just a few quarts, can be puzzling. Should it be stored for later use, recycled, or disposed of? This guide demystifies these options, ensuring you can handle leftover paint in the most practical and eco-conscious way.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Leftover Paint

Firstly, assess the amount of paint you have left. If it matches your current color scheme, it’s a good idea to keep a small amount for future touch-ups. For smaller quantities, consider transferring the paint to smaller containers, such as quart cans. This not only saves space but also aids in maintaining an organized storage area.

Step 2: Consider Recycling or Disposal Options

For cans that are either half-full or nearing emptiness, you have a few choices:

Recycling Options for Usable Paint

In regions like Oregon, California, and Connecticut, your paint purchase may include a fee that contributes to recycling programs such as PaintCare. These initiatives provide various drop-off locations for recycling old paint. To find a nearby drop-off location, visit PaintCare’s website.

Proper Disposal of Empty Cans

If your paint cans are completely empty, the simplest method is to discard them in your regular trash, as most recycling centers do not accept empty paint cans.

Step 3: Handle Small Amounts of Paint

When dealing with cans that contain a small amount of paint, the recommended approach is to let the paint dry by removing the lid. After drying, these cans can be disposed of just like completely empty cans.

For items not covered by PaintCare, Earth 911 is an excellent resource for finding suitable recycling options.


Managing leftover paint effectively is key to keeping your home clutter-free and environmentally responsible. For further advice or assistance, the team at Sisu Painting, Inc. is always available to help. Contact us at (503) 646-1211 for more guidance.

For more painting tips and home care advice, visit our blog.

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