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Are Paint Cans Recyclable?

Whether you have full paint cans, or empty ones that you need to get rid of, you need to know how to properly dispose of them. Some paint cans are not recyclable due to the chemical components of the paint, while others may be accepted by your city’s waste program.

So, are paint can recyclable? Yes, some paint cans can be recycled, but only if they are empty. If you paint can still has paint in it, you may only dispose of it through your city’s hazardous waste program. You can recycle empty plastic and metal paint cans as well.

In this article we go over everything you need to know in order to properly dispose of your paint cans. Let’s read on!

How to Recycle Your Paint Can

The first thing you need to do, is to make sure there’s no paint inside your paint can. If there is, you need to remove it prior to recycling the can. You can purchase a paint hardener, which will harden up the paint so you can easily dump it out.

Homax is an excellent brand to use, and I have personally used it do dispose my leftover paint. You simply add it to the paint, and wait for it to harden before you toss it out. It works in minutes, and works for up to 2/3 of a gallon.

Homax is also environmentally safe, and is approved by most waste companies for waste curbside pickup!

Now that your leftover paint is dry, you can recycle your paint can. You can either take it to your city’s waste management plant, or you can ask for a bulky pickup from your city. If the can is small enough, you can even throw it into your recycling bin at home.

Never try to recycle a paint can that still has wet paint inside, as it will automatically get rejected.

Are Acrylic Paint Cans Recyclable?

Yes, acrylic paint cans are recyclable. You simply dispose of it in the same manner as you would any other metal or plastic paint can. Remember to empty out all the paint before you recycle the paint can.

The Homax Paint Hardener I talked about above also works on acrylic paints, and latex paints.

Acrylic paint is usually non-toxic and safe for the environment, which will make disposing of it a bit easier. If your paint has dried out, you can simply toss it out into the trash, or your city’s waste management if it’s a significant amount of paint.

With an empty acrylic paint plastic or metal paint can, you can take it to your local recycling center, or request a waste pickup. If you are feeling crafty, there are tons of DIY’s to re-purpose your empty paint can.

Abstract Painting

Are Metal Paint Tins Recyclable?

Yes, just like other types of paint cans, they are fully recyclable. You can take your metal tin can or paint can to your local recycling center, or waste management center.

Make sure to remove all the paint from the can, before recycling it. If you don’t want to take the paint can anywhere, you can always up-cycle it into a DIY project. There are so many uses for your old metal paint can out there!

You can paint it, and use it as a planter, a pencil holder, (if it’s a small paint can) or even a hanging garden. You can also use them as storage for Christmas decorations or any other storage need.

Are Oil Paint Cans Recyclable?

Yes, oil paint cans are recyclable! Like mentioned above, make sure that there’s no paint inside the can before you recycle it. You can take it to the recycling center, or up-cycle it as a project.

You can also use it to store new mixed paints, or any other painting chemicals that you may need. I have used old paint cans to store my painting supplies, like some paint palettes, painting knives, and sponges.

You can always paint it, or decorate it any way you want. If you want to fully recycle your paint can, a trip to your local recycling center shall do. Some city’s even have a bulky and waste item curbside pickup, so you don’t even have to leave your house.

Can Plastic Paint Cans Be Recycled?

Plastic is one of the most recycled items in households, and that can include your empty plastic paint can. Like we mentioned above, make sure there’s no paint inside to properly recycle your can. If there is wet paint, make sure to follow my recommendations above.

Are Spray Paint Cans Recyclable?

Spray cans are highly recyclable. The brand Krylon has design their cans and plastic tips so you can fully recycle them! You should always double check with your city’s recycling program to make sure they are accepted. You should follow these simple guidelines in order to properly recycle your spray paint can:

  • Use your spray can product until the container is empty.
  • Remove the plastic spray cap to be recycled separately.
  • Recycle spray cans along with other containers according to your community guideline.

It’s very important to make sure you local waste facility accepts aerosol spray cans, before you plan your trip. Not every city has a program designed for spray cans. If the spray can is empty, you can put it in a recycle bin designated for steel or aluminum.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, most paint cans are recyclable. You can take them to your local recycling center, or schedule a waste curbside pickup with your city’s waste management department.

Remember to remove any paint inside the can before you try to recycle it. If you take wet paint to any recycling location, it will be rejected. You can purchase a paint hardener kit to remove there paint, or empty it out into another bag or can and wait to it to fully dry before disposing of it.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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