How To Dispose Of Empty Paint Cans: 3 Safest Ways

When you are finished painting, you will need to get rid of the empty paint cans. Leaving them lying around is not only an eyesore but is also dangerous. Paint can explode if it gets too hot, leading to a fire. We can see evidence of development all around us, with new buildings and megaprojects popping up constantly.

This construction wouldn’t be possible without paint, which is necessary to cover old and new structures. People also use paint to freshen up the walls of their homes when they become dirty or outdated.

After we finish painting, the safe disposal of paint cans is the last thing on our minds. Most people do not think that aerosol cans are made out of thin sheets of steel and alloy containing carbon elements. With this knowledge, it should be clear how these items can be detrimental to humans, animals, and our environment if not disposed of properly.

Although recycling used paint cans is possible, it is crucial to understand that these cans may still have harmful residue from the paint. Below we list some tips for properly and safely disposing of them. But let’s start with knowing a few reasons why you should dispose of them safely.

Don’t Throw Empty Paint Tins in the Garbage

old paint
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The old, emptied paint cans’ carbon element is responsible for the increase of carbon in the air, which has catastrophic consequences on climates worldwide. Moreover, because empty paint cans are pressurized to such a high degree, these used cans cannot be disposed of in normal garbage bins. If these cans are exposed to heat, there is a significant chance they will explode. Furthermore, if these pressure-filled cans end up in a garbage truck equipped with its compactor, the extreme pressure could cause them to detonate.

The paint left in these cans is dangerous not only for the environment but also for your health. The risks include developing diseases like cancer. If you were to dispose of used paint cans with regular garbage in certain parts of the world, you could be fined. The reason is that many harmful components present in the paint can harm people and the environment if not disposed of properly. Therefore, local authorities have laws requiring people to store and eliminate any leftover paint and cans safely.

How To Dispose Of Empty Paint Cans?

As we all know, empty paint cans differ from latex or oil-based tins. They are pressurized to the extreme, which means they may explode if tampered with. So, it is advisable not to alter the consumer cans. Additionally, do not expose them to extreme heat sources. The following steps will help you dispose of empty paint cans safely and effectively:

1. Empty The Bottle

The first thing you need to do is find some newspapers and lay them out on the floor. You are doing this to empty the spray paint can completely. Shake the spray paint bottle properly; this will let you know if the bottle has emptied all its contents.

If it is empty, you will hear a sound similar to air escaping from the container; otherwise, keep spraying until no more paint comes onto the newspaper. If there is still leftover paint, consider donating partially filled cans to someone who could put them to use.

2. Check the Rules of Your Locality

Be a good citizen, and do not become one of those litterbugs. Do some research on the best way to dispose of your spray paint bottles according to the policies in your municipality. You can probably find this information on your local administration’s website, or you could call them. If there is no special hazardous waste site in your locality, dispose of it at your local Waste Management facility.

3. Sell Them to The Interested Companies

You can contact businesses that purchase aluminum trash cans if you need to get rid of many spray cans. Most spray cans contain steel or aluminum, two materials these companies are always interested in buying.

You can find a list of prospective buyers by searching the internet. Not only are you properly disposing of your spray cans, but you are also earning money from the disposal. This gives you a double advantage.

What Not To Do While Disposing Of Empty Paint Cans

There are certain things you should not do while disposing of your cans. Here is a list of those things:

  • Do not dispose of paint cans with regular garbage. A hefty fine may result from this.
  • Do not try to open or puncture the can. This could cause an explosion.
  • Do not expose the can to heat sources such as fire or sunlight. This could also cause an explosion.
  • Do not leave the can in a place where children or pets can reach it.
  • Do not try to dispose of the can yourself if you are unfamiliar with the proper procedures. It is always best to contact a professional for help.

The Bottom Line

Paint cans can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It is important to follow the proper steps to ensure the safety of both people and the environment. With a little research, you can easily find the best way to get rid of your paint cans. Always contact a professional for help if you have any doubts.


How do you dispose of enamel paint?

You can dispose of your dried paint and other related materials by adding them to your household garbage for curbside pickup. Be sure to leave the lids off the cans, so the trash collectors know that the paint is dry. If you only have a small amount of leftover pain, remove the lid and let it dry in the can.

How do you dispose of paint with kitty litter?

Once the paint is dry, follow these steps to dispose of it safely: Add equal parts of kitty litter and latex paint to the can. Mix one part paint with one part kitty litter.
If you have more than half a can, pour the Content into a lined cardboard box, then add cat litter until it covers the top layer of paint.

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