NOTICE 4/5/2024 @ 7:30am: North Kent Waste & Recycling Center is in the final stretch of its expansion construction. Our recycling drop-off stations at this site have been temporarily moved — click here for the details. Stay tuned here on our website or our social media for updates!

Is it Latex Paint, Aerosol Paint, or Oil-based Paint?

To determine what type of paint you have, it is helpful to look at the label and find the ‘Cleanup Instructions’.

Latex paint will instruct you to clean your brushes with ‘detergent and water’ or ‘soap and water’. You can read more about donating/reusing or disposing of Latex Paint via the Related Materials section below.

If you are instructed to use a solvent, like mineral spirits or paint thinner, to clean your brushes or if you find the words ‘alkyd’ or ‘combustible’ are on the label, your paints are not latex but rather an aerosol or oil-based paint variety and will need to be disposed of through the Kent County Department of Public Work’s SafeChem Program. You can read more aerosol paint immediately below and oil-based paint in the Related Materials section below.

How can Kent County Department of Public Works help?

Explore the waste stream options below for how you can reuse, recycle, compost, or dispose of the item you are trying to get rid of through a KCDPW facility or service.

Donate or Reuse
Recycling Cart
Special Collection Recycling
Proper Disposal

If you have aerosol/spray paint cans that are unopened or partially used and no longer wanted, please bring them to any of our hazardous waste disposal sites (see the Proper Disposal tab), so that other residents can give it a second-chance at use through our SafeChem Swap Shop.

The link can provide you with more details about our SafeChem Swap Shop program including location address, hours of service, and how you can browse the shop and save on supply cost on your next project.

Spray paint and paint cans are not biodegradable or compostable.

Chemicals and hazardous waste, including aerosol paint, should not go in your curbside single-stream recycling cart as it puts recycling trucks and the Recycling Center at increased risk for fire and exposes sort line workers to chemicals. It also can leak onto other recyclables and contaminate them.

HOWEVER, completely empty aerosol cans, including spray paint cans, can be placed in your recycling cart to be recycled.

Spray paints are considered hazardous materials so they need to be handled by our SafeChem-Household Hazardous Waste program staff prior to reuse, recycling, or proper disposal (see the Proper Disposal tab).

Aerosol paints are accepted for recycling through any of our five SafeChem-Household Hazardous Waste Disposal sites during designated service hours. The link can provide you with the details of this FREE program!

No commercial hazardous waste from businesses, schools, non-profits, etc. — strictly residential hazardous waste. See the Community Disposal Outlets below for commercial hazardous waste solutions.

These types of paints are made of hazardous materials. Hazardous waste is prohibited by the State of Michigan and Environmental Protection Agency from going into the landfill or waste to energy facility. Chemicals and hazardous waste, such as spray paints, should not go in your curbside trash cart as it puts trash trucks and our trash disposal sites at increased risk for explosions and fire.