COVID-19 update: Given the current situation, some recycling locations may be temporarily closed or have reduced hours. If you’re planning to visit a depot, we encourage you to contact them directly to confirm hours of operation and safety protocols. Please do not throw your recyclables in the trash.
If you’ve run out of uses for your leftover paint, recycle it to keep it out of landfills and waterways.
About our paint recycling program
In eight Canadian provinces, we provide recycling locations where you can bring various types of leftover paint, including latex and oil-based paint, primers, coatings, aerosols and empty paint cans (plastic, metal and composite).
Recycling locations include bottle depots, recycling centres, municipal sites and retail locations. Visit our recycling locator to find your nearest location. It’s free to drop off your paint at any of the sites listed. We also offer free leftover paint to the public through our PaintShare program.
Equivalent to 1.4 seconds of water flow through the Saint Lawrence River!
How does the paint recycling process work?
How to recycle paint
Drop off your leftover, old or unwanted paint at your nearest Product Care Recycling location. Use our recycling locator to find your nearest one.
You can drop off up to 10 paint cans or 50 spray bottles per visit
Paint must be in its original container, with the labels on
Don’t combine leftover paint together, or mix any other products with it
Make sure paint cans are sealed properly before bringing them to us
Why should paint be recycled?
Paint beautifies our homes and brings colour to our lives. When used properly, it has little impact on the environment. However, not every can of paint gets used up, and if it’s improperly disposed of, leftover paint can be harmful to the environment and can threaten marine life, sewers and streams, and take up unnecessary landfill space.
As paint is a special waste substance that must be handled securely, leftover paint and paint cans should be managed responsibly. The safest option to reduce landfill waste and environmental harm is by dropping them off at a Product Care Recycling location. Quality paint is made available for reuse through our PaintShare program, and the rest is responsibly managed, typically through recycling.
How to buy and store paint
Buy the amount of paint you need
When buying paint, ask the retailer to help you estimate how much paint your project will require. Not only will this save you money, but it will reduce the likelihood of having leftover paint once you’re finished.
Multiply the length of your walls by the height of your walls to estimate their size in square feet. A gallon of paint will coat approximately 350 square feet, depending how absorbent the surface you’re painting is.
Store your leftover paint correctly
To store paint correctly after use:
Clean the rim of the can to ensure a proper seal. Pour 1/8″ (3mm) of solvent on top of oil-based paint, or 1/8″ (3mm) of water on top of latex paint to seal the surface, then secure the lid.
Alternatively, stretch plastic wrap over the can opening, replace the lid securely, and store paint upside down. This will create an airtight seal to keep the paint fresh until you’re ready to use it again.
Store paint away from heat sources, at a temperature between 3 and 35 degrees Celsius, and out of the reach of children and animals.
Use up leftover paint
Although leftover paint is recyclable, the most energy- and cost-efficient solution is to use it up.
If you have paint left after a project, apply another coat to an area which could use extra protection
Mix small amounts of leftover latex (water-based) paint together to use as a primer coat for larger projects
Keep a small amount of paint, stored securely, for future touch-ups
If you can’t use up your leftover paint, you probably know someone who can. Offer leftovers to a friend, neighbour, or your local community centre, church, or theatre group. Or bring it to one of our PaintShare locations, and we’ll make it available to other members of your community for free.
If you can’t find anyone to take your paint or if it’s no longer fit for use, recycle it with Product Care Recycling.
These are accepted in our household hazardous waste recycling programs in BC, Manitoba and Ontario. See the household hazardous waste recycling page for more information about these items and where they can be dropped off for recycling.