Photo of old cans of paint

Properly Dispose of Unwanted Household Paint

Released March 28, 2022 11:25 AM
The City of Alpharetta is reminding residents needing to dispose of unwanted household paint that they cannot throw it away with their standard trash without first taking a few steps.  How to dispose of it safely and properly depends on if the paint is latex or oil based.

After following a few simple steps to dry it, water or latex-based paints can be placed in the garbage. If you have only a small amount of paint left in a can, it can be dried by simply removing the lid and leaving the open can in a well-ventilated, sunny location that is out of the reach of children and pets for a few days.  Drying larger quantities of water or latex-based paint requires the addition of a material such as kitty litter, sawdust, mulch, or even shredded newspaper to help absorb the liquid.  While it costs a little more, you can also buy commercial paint hardeners at your local hardware store that will dry the paint more quickly than those other options.  Once the water or latex-based paint is dry, it can be safely set out for disposal with the rest of your household garbage as long as you leave the lid off the containers so it can be easily seen that the paint is dried.

Another option for Alpharetta residents needing to dispose of latex paint is to take advantage of the City’s paint recycling program.  This is done by completing and submitting a registration form, after which the City will contact you to schedule a drop-off appointment.  There are certain requirements that are outlined on the registration form (DOWNLOAD FORM).

If your paint is an oil-based product, you are dealing with a hazardous material that is not allowed in landfills.  It must be disposed of in a hazardous waste facility to prevent contamination of soils and groundwater.  To assist residents in the safe disposal of oil-based paints and other household hazardous chemicals the City hosts Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Events twice each year, typically one in the Spring and a second in the Fall.  Keep an eye on the City’s website, social media channels, and local newspapers for announcements of upcoming events.

If you need to get rid of the oil-based paint before our next collection event, you can visit to find the nearest locations to drop-off the paint.  PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established to represent paint manufacturers and set up more places for people to take unwanted, leftover paint.  After using the tool to locate a convenient drop-off site, call ahead to confirm hours and requirements.

A final option for getting rid of household paint that you no longer need is to consider donating it to a local charity.  Contact a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, shelter, or animal rescue to see if they can make use of the paint.