Paint: Latex, Oil-Based, Spray

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.  Use estimator tool at bottom of page.

Latex Paint

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.

Paint should never be poured down any drain, unless you want an excuse to call your plumber.

  • Usable* latex paint and stain are usually accepted separately at one HHW collection per season, otherwise DO NOT BRING it to a HHW collection.
  • Recolor Paint in Hanover accepts usable* latex paint and stain at its Hanover facility for a fee of $2/can from 9-2 M-F. (Call ahead if >30 gal). Visit their website, call 1-833-RECOLOR (732-6567), or email for more information.
    • Recolor Paint 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. You can also order it online through Amazon, Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot.
    • Recolor Paint has helped our Member Towns divert at least 10,000 gallons of good paint, and several tons of kitty litter, from incineration through 2022.
  • Middleborough accepts usable* latex paint and stain from its residents at the Transfer Station/Landfill in non-winter months.
  • If it’s not fit for another wall or ceiling, or recycling isn’t practical, sop up the liquid with cat litter, used coffee grounds, etc. to prevent spatter on your street or transfer station, and dispose of the open cans in a bag with household trash.

*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:  

The following towns accept these from their own residents only either regularly or monthly:  


Spray Paint

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: 

Measure the rooms you need to paint, including the door and window size.
All measurements should be in FEET.
One gallon covers about 400 square feet.

Use your figures in the following calculations to measure interior and exterior square footage:

A. Walls
Width (of all walls added together) X height of walls = A (square feet) total wall surface

B. Windows
Height of window X width of window X number of windows =  B (square feet) total window surface

C. Doors
Height of door X width of door X number of doors = C (square feet) total door surface

D. Gables
Height X  width divided by 2 = D (square feet)

E.  Eaves
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.

Comments are closed.