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Latex Paint Disposal

Keep latex paint out of UC San Diego trash and sewers by following disposal instructions below.

Although less toxic than oil-based paint, water-based latex paint can still harm the environment. Latex paint and rinse water from cleaning latex paint equipment must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Liquid latex paint cannot be disposed of in the regular trash, poured down sewer or storm drains, or dumped on the ground.

How to dispose of latex paint

How to dispose of rinse water

How to dispose of containers and applicators

Empty paint containers and used applicators are not hazardous waste and can go in the regular trash if they meet the following criteria:

  • Containers: No paint pours out when it is held upside down, and any remaining paint is completely dry.
    • It is illegal to deliberately air-dry latex paint or mix it with another substance to solidify it.
  • Brushes, rollers, and other applicators: All remaining paint is dry.

Minimize waste

  • Buy only what you need.
  • Store cans upside down with the lids secured.
  • Use leftover paint on another project.
  • Reuse applicators when possible.
  • Donate useable surplus paint to Chemcycle.

For oil paint, thinner, and solvent disposal, read How to Store and Dispose of Hazardous Chemical Waste.

For more information, contact the EH&S Environmental Management Facility, (858) 534-2753.
Notice: Disposal of hazardous waste using sinks, intentional evaporation, or as regular trash is against the law. Campus laboratories must abide by strict state and federal waste disposal requirements. You may be held liable for violations of applicable laws.