You just needed a little paint to touch up one room, but you bought a whole gallon.  You can't throw it in the trash.  So what do you do with it now?

We've all been there before.  You buy a can of paint hoping to change up the look of a room or to just touch up an area and then it sits on a shelf in your garage or your basement for years because what in the heck do you do with old paint?

You are not allowed to throw out old paint in the trash in New York

There is a list of things that you are not allowed to throw in the trash in New York state.  It's part of The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act — commonly referred to as RCRA.  It's the law that helps to "Protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal."
On the list are things like aluminum (that's why you can return your aluminum cans to get your deposit back on them), tires, and paint.

What do you do with old paint in New York State?

So, if you can't throw old paint out, what do you do with it?  Is it just supposed to live in your basement forever?

No, There are paint drop-off locations. You can find them by clicking here.

You can also find paint recycling events.  There is another one coming up very soon in Erie County.

There is a paint recycling event coming to Williamsville

If you want somewhere to drop off your old paint cans that won't cost you anything, there's good news.  There's a new event coming to Williamsville and it's open to all Erie County residents.  It will take place on September 9th from 8:30 am - 1 pm.  You will need to register in advance to attend, but again, it's completely free.

There are things that cannot be recycled, however

Unfortunately, not all paint can be recycled at this event.  The list of things they will not accept includes:

  • Spray Paint
  • Paint Thinner
  • Solvents
  • Cleaning Agents
  • Adhesive
  • Roof Patch
  • Drywall Mud
  • Driveway Sealer

Paints that you can recycle are:

  • Oil-based
  • Acrylic
  • Latex
  • Stains
  • Shellacs
  • Lacquers
  • Sealers
  • Varnish
  • Urethanes

The paint will need to be in its original (non-leaking, labeled) container.

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