Hey, Jennifer Jarland! Can I Recycle Paint?

Hey, Jennifer Jarland! Can I Recycle Paint?



Hey, Jennifer Jarland!

Can I recycle Paint?

Jennifer says:

I don’t usually like to answer a question with a question, but there are two different common kinds of paint that have different disposal processes. So the question is, do you have oil paint or latex paint? An easy way to tell the difference between oil and latex is to look on the can at the cleaning instructions. If it says to clean up with water, then you know you have a latex paint.

Oil-based paint and stain are to be treated and disposed of as Household Hazardous Waste. Please see the HHW pages for information on disposal.

Latex paint is water-based and has a very low level of toxicity. Disposing of it as hazardous waste is unnecessary and very expensive, so the Naperville facility does not accept it. The Illinois EPA and Kane County encourage people with unwanted latex paint to use other options. In order of best practice, here are some ways to manage excess Latex Paint:

  • Buy a smaller can. The best way to reduce waste is by buying only as much as you need. Or use it up. Add an extra coat or paint something els​e. Use an old piece of cardboard, some scrap lumber, or the inside of your garage. Let the empty can dry and recycle it.
  • Recycle it. Recycle Latex Paint at one of the quarterly Kane C​ounty Recycles Events (2015 dates: March 14, June 13, Sept. 12, Dec 12. Earth Paint Collection Systems (www.earthpaintscs.com or 847-231-6044) recycles unused liquid latex paint through the county event and ACE Hardware stores in Kane County. A small per-container recycling fee will apply at the events and at ACE, payable by the resident, as follows: $2 a quart, $3.50 a gallon, $5.50 per 2-gallon can and $10 per 5-gallon can. Recycle any empty paint cans and lids that you may have; a thin coating of dried paint on the inside walls and bottom is ok. Put them in with your household recycling.

ReUse it. ReStore in Elgin will also take unopened/unused paint; 800 N, State St., Elgin, 847-7​42-9905. Or donate or share it. Find a friend or neighbor who needs to paint a small area. Or lastly, you can dry it out so that it can be disposed of in your regular household trash. Add kitty litter, sawdust, or shredded paper and stir it in to help the paint dry more quickly. Once solidified, place cans in trash, lids off (in fact you can recycle the lids). If you have large quantities that you need to get rid of all at once, call your waste hauler to inform them and ask how many stickers you will need to attach. Usually it is about three cans for one sticker.


More recycling information can be found at the recycling page of the Kane County website.

Questions? Contact Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland, 630-208-3841, recycle@countyofkane.org.