Roadside Dumping of Paint Cans Leads to Disposal Reminder

Ask Transfer Station attendants for guidance

By Marjorie Roy

Recently, approximately 20 one-gallon cans of paint were left on the side of several town roads.  The highway crew picked them up, dried them out, and properly disposed of them.

If you are unsure of how to dispose of something, please ask the Transfer Station attendants. They are trained in all kinds of disposal regulations. 

Yes, there are charges for some things, but not everything. So don’t assume there will be a fee associated with all disposals.

Please follow the instructions below when you have paint to dispose of.  Thank you.

Paint Disposal

Proper paint disposal contributes to a more efficient use of our landfills and, ultimately, safer groundwater and soil. We recommend the following tips:

Check local ordinances and waste hauler regulations.

Read paint can instructions for proper disposal.


Place properly dried latex in your regular household trash; however, follow these steps prior to disposal:

Cans with leftover paint should be left open so that the paint dries before disposal.

Make sure you place the drying cans in a well-ventilated area. 


Cans with less than a quarter of the paint remaining will require a few days of drying time; cans with larger amounts will take longer, about a week.

You can also add shredded newspaper, sand, sawdust, cat litter, or paint solidifier to the paint, which will absorb the excess paint. These materials also work well in stopping paint spills from spreading on most surfaces.

Another solution is to punch holes in the top of the can and then place it in a dry area for a couple of weeks.

When the cans are ready to be thrown out, be sure the lids have been removed to let waste haulers know the paint is dry.

Note: Oil-based paints, varnish, or paint thinners are generally considered hazardous waste.
Check with your municipality about any local ordinances and read label instructions before disposal – another good reason why you never want to spill paint on the back of your paint can label. Only dispose through your locally designated household hazardous waste program.