Latex Paint Disposal

Water-based paints/stains, “latex paints,” should not be poured down any drain.

Paint Recycling – The Department of Ecology has contracted with PaintCare to establish collection points for unused oil-based and latex paints where those products are sold. The PaintCare program launched April 1 with a single collection point at Peninsula Paint Center located at 315 Decatur St., Port Townsend. For questions about the PaintCare program or to find other retail collection points, please visit: or phone (360) 450-1639. PaintCare Washington Launch Press Release.

The PaintCare program is independent of Jefferson County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program which will continue to collect oil-based paints only at hazardous waste collection events.

How to dispose of Latex Paint

  • Full cans of useable paint may be accepted at used building material stores or donated to theater, churches or other groups.
  • Otherwise, unwanted latex can be thickened with absorbent to a non-running consistency and placed with the paint can lid removed in the regular trash. (Curbside trash service customers are asked not to exceed 45 pounds per 32-gallon can.)
    • Mix unwanted latex paints with equal parts absorbent such as kitty litter, mechanics floor sweep, woodstove fuel pellets, or dry sawdust.
    • Add enough absorbent to reach an oatmeal-like consistency, then let sit for one hour.
    • After one hour, check consistency to ensure it is no longer a running liquid, leave any lids off the latex paint cans, and dispose of as regular household trash.

King County’s ‘How To’ video

Is your paint water-based or oil-based?  A “Flammable” or “Combustible” label warning indicates oil-based.  ‘Clean up with soap and water’ indicates water-based paints.

Oil-based paints are combustible. Visit the Hazardous Waste page for info on where and when to dispose of these.

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