What should I do with leftover paint?
Prevention is easiest. Only buy the amount you need to avoid dealing with waste. One gallon covers about 400 square feet. If you’re unsure how much you need, use the estimating calculator at bottom of page.
Most modern, and most acrylic paint is latex. Look for “water based”, “Low VOC”, or “Clean up with soap and water” on the label.
Latex paint is messy, but NOT HAZARDOUS.
If it’s usable*, you can bring it to Recolor Paint in Hanover for a small fee. Hingham and Middleborough also accept usable latex paint and stain from its residents at the Transfer Station/Landfill in non-winter months. WE usually accept it separately at one HHW collection per season, otherwise DO NOT BRING it to a HHW collection.
If it’s not fit for another wall or ceiling, or recycling isn’t practical, absorb the liquid with cat litter to prevent spatter on your street or transfer station, and dispose of the open cans in a bag with household trash.
Paint should never be poured down any drain, unless you want an excuse to call your plumber.
*What is considered ‘usable’ paint?
“If you would use it, we can use it.”
- Liquid latex paint
- Original container and label
- Stored indoors (never frozen)
Check that the following have not occurred:
- Mold, mildew growth or a foul odor
- Solidification or skinning
- Curdling (semi solid lumps of paint)
If any of these things have occurred, stir in some kitty litter, leave the lid off, put it in a bag and dispose with your trash.
Oil-Based Paint and Stain
Oil based coatings that are still liquid contain hazardous solvents. Look for the words “alkyd”, “combustible”, “flammable” or “clean up with mineral spirits” on the label. They may be brought to a Household Hazardous Waste Event.
The following towns accept these from their own residents only either regularly or monthly:
Spray paint contains flammable propellents and solvents and is considered hazardous waste. If not empty of liquid and gas propellant, bring to one of the household hazardous waste events.
To calculate the amount of paint you need for your project:
One gallon covers about 400 square feet.
Measure the rooms you need to paint, including the door and window size. All measurements should be in FEET. Insert your figures into the following calculations to measure interior and exterior square footage:
Width of all walls added together___ x height of walls___ = A (square feet) total wall surface
Height of window___ x width of window ____ x number of windows___= B (square feet) total window surface
Height of door __ x width of door ___ x number of doors___ = C (square feet) total door surface
Height __ x width ___ divided by 2 = D (square feet)
Width of overhang __ x length ___ = E (square feet)
A + D + E – (B + C) divided by 400 square feet per gallon = number of gallons you need.
Recolor Paint (fka The Paint Exchange) strains, batches, processes and repackages high quality, beautifully colored ‘reColor’ paints.
The product is available for sale at just over half the price of ‘virgin’ paint at The Welch Company and Simply Vintage by the Sea in Scituate, and area Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Recolor accepts usable paint at its Hanover facility for a charge of $2/can. Visit their website, call 1-833-RECOLOR (732-6567), or email for more information.
Recolor Paint has helped our Member Towns divert 8,000 gallons of good paint, and several tons of kitty litter, from incineration through 2020.