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’.

For latex paint, you will be instructed to clean your brushes with ‘detergent and water’ or ‘soap and water’. See the sections below on donating/reusing or disposing of Latex Paint for further instructions.

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 see more about each of those paint types 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
Special Collection Recycling
Proper Disposal

Leftover latex paint can be saved for future projects, used by family or friends, or needed by other residents of West Michigan. Instead of tossing usable latex paint, consider putting it up for grabs through Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, Craigslist, or your local BuyNothing Project group which are all great places to give away items. Check out some of the Community Disposal Outlets below for any places that accept donations.

Latex paint is not compostable.

Latex paint should not go in your curbside single-stream recycling cart as it will leak onto other recyclables and contaminate them.

DO NOT place the paint can in the recycling bin. Any recyclables, including metal or plastic paint cans, cannot be recycled if they are dirty (contain any contaminants — dried paint remnants in this case). DO NOT pour paint down the drain (sink, tub, toilet etc.).

In some places, technology exists to recycle latex paint. Look below for any Community Disposal Outlets that recycle latex paint in this region.

Latex paint is a water-based paint and therefore not a hazardous material. Latex paint is NOT accepted at our SafeChem-Household Hazardous Waste Disposal sites.

Once dried, latex paint may be safely placed in your trash. Follow the instructions below to quickly dry out your latex paint.

Step 1: Find an area that will be protected from children, pets, and weather but has adequate airflow. A locked screen porch or a high shelf in a well-vented garage or shed may be suitable.

Step 2: Remove and place the latex paint lid in the trash.

Step 3: Add an absorbent material such as cat litter, sawdust or sand to the latex paint, stirring the material into the paint until it is the consistency of thick oatmeal. Leave the solid paint sludge in the can to harden completely. If there is too much latex paint in the container, add absorbent material to a cardboard box lined with a trash bag. Pour the paint into the lined box and allow to dry. Repeat until all of the paint is dry.

Step 4: Once hardened, the latex paint mixture can be safely and legally placed in your trash.

Dried-out latex paint can be disposed of through your regular trash services or brought to either of Kent County Department of Public Work’s two disposal facilities for a fee:

The links above can provide the location address, disposal fee, and hours of service.

Community Resources

Below you will find businesses and community outlets that may accept this item/material.


Accepts latex paint for a fee ($3 per container charge, no matter the size) and as long as it meets the following criteria:

  • Paint MUST be in it’s original container
  • Paint must be in USEABLE condition: never frozen, no chunks, no foul odors
  • Paint must be a LATEX based product

Any Repcolite location will accept latex paint for a fee and as long as it meets the criteria above.


Learn More

Related Materials