Paint is one of the most frequently used chemicals in our lives.
We use it for both home painting projects when we want to refresh our interiors a bit, and also paint is great for any artistic activities like painting on canvas, etc.
However, after you are done painting, you usually face quite an issue: how to dispose of old acrylic paint correctly?
Most of us probably think that acrylic paint tubes or cans can simply be tossed into a trash bin, however, this is not the correct way of getting rid of them!
In this article, we will explain how acrylic paint should be disposed of properly and according to the official authorities’ regulations.
You will learn in particular how you should dispose of toxic acrylic paints and non-toxic alternatives as well.
We will also provide you with information about whether acrylic paint is considered toxic waste, and whether it is recyclable.
Like that, you will be able to dispose of this artistic material correctly without harming yourself, those who are near you, and your environment.
Related:Watercolor vs Acrylic Paint
How to Properly Dispose Of Acrylic Paint?
Once you are done with your painting project, it does not mean that you are done with all that comes with it.
Brushes need to be washed, and the paint leftovers need to be disposed of. And this is where most of us stumble.
If you want to dispose of acrylic paint and do it the right way, you might have to adjust your approach depending on the kind of paint you have.
Usually, the most common disposal options are the following:
- Donate excess acrylic paint to charity
- Recycle leftover non-toxic acrylic paint
- Throw non-toxic acrylic paint away after it dries out
- Bring toxic acrylic paint to your local hazardous waste disposal center
Which option should be used depends on how much paint you have left, and whether it is toxic or not.
If you are not sure about how to dispose of old acrylic paint and paint cans correctly, you can opt for one of the two methods. The method you choose depends on what type of acrylic paint you are using right now.
See, the way how this paint will be disposed of depends on whether or not it is toxic.
This is why below we have described both methods of non-toxic acrylic paint disposal and the process that you will have to undergo if you need to know how to dispose of craft acrylic paint that is toxic.
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How to Dispose Of Non-Toxic Water Based Acrylic Paint?
If you are curious about how to dispose of excess acrylic paint that is non-toxic, you will be happy to find out that basically, the process is rather simple. You just need to make sure that you do everything exactly the same as the recommendations describe.
Leave the Tubes Or Cans Open to Dry Out the Paint
The major paint disposal rule of thumb sounds like this: you don’t want to throw out acrylic paint while it is still liquid. If you do this, the paint could leak. Such paint can cause harm to the environment or local animals, even when the paint isn’t toxic.
This is why first of all before you throw away the paint tubes or cans (depending on what you used exactly), you need to set your leftover acrylic paint in a safe, well-ventilated area.
Then, open the lids or caps (if you used the tubes) so that the paint could dry out completely.
What if you have way too much of leftover paint? Well, in this case, it can be mixed with cat litter or paint hardener. Cat litter will draw the liquid out of the paint, and as a result, it will speed the process up a bit.
The paint hardener does the same thing, basically, since it will be drying out the paint and making it trash can-ready. So you can opt for each of these variants, depending on what you have at hand right now.
Don’t Reseal the Containers
After the paint is completely dried out, don’t put the lid back onto the container! This is the most common mistake that people do. Simply leave the lid off. Or, as an option, you can recycle it separately if it is made of recyclable material.
Throw It Away In the Garbage
Once the paint is fully dry, you can place the container in your garbage can or take it to your local dump. It is important to note that some garbage companies don’t pick up old paint curbside.
If that’s the case, you will need to take it to your local landfill.
Like this, now you know what to do if you have to dispose of non-toxic acrylic paint. Since this type of paint is basically safer, there is not much you have to worry about.
And the process of paint disposal is more or less simple.
But what if you have to deal with the toxic paint? Keep reading on then!
How to Safely Dispose Of Toxic Acrylic Paint?
To learn how to dispose of acrylic paint at home if it is toxic, you need to keep in mind that this substance is potentially harmful for you.
This is why make sure that you follow the basic safety recommendations. The process of paint disposal is not very difficult itself.
Secure the Lids On the Containers
Before you move toxic acrylic paint, make sure that all the container lids are put on tight!
Remember that uou want to reduce the chance of spill or leak, so it’s worth double-checking.
Transport the Paint to Your Local Hazardous Waste Facility
Once the lids are securely put in place, the paint needs to be brought to your local hazardous waste facility. In the majority of cases, the drop-off points are at the local dump.
However, some municipalities keep them separate. This is why we recommend you do a quick internet search in order to see where you need to go exactly.
As an alternative option, you can wait for a local hazardous waste drop-off event. Usually, many municipalities host such events once or twice a year.
It is making it easy for the local households to turn potentially dangerous items in for proper disposal.
Related: How to Get Acrylic Paint Off Wood?
Let Them Know About What’s In the Can
When you arrive at the hazardous waste facility, let them know exactly what you have in the containers. Explain that the containers hold toxic ingredients and that it is painted in there.
Like this, you will ensure that your leftover paint is treated correctly after you hand the containers over.
With all this in mind, you will now be able to define what method it is best to choose and use when you need to dispose of some leftover acrylic paint next time you are done with your artistic or home painting project.
Related: How to Clean Dried Acrylic Paint Brushes?
Is Acrylic Paint Considered Hazardous Type Of Waste?
As you surely know, some types of waste are considered hazardous or potentially hazardous, and they must be treated and disposed of extremely carefully, and of course, the process of disposal must be done correctly!
Regarding this issue, quite many people still have questions about the safety of acrylic paint. Many homeowners and especially parens are still wondering: “Are acrylic paints toxic?” or “Is acrylic paint hazardous waste?”
We would be happy to say “no”, but the reality is that the answer to those questions will be: “It depends.” See, usually, all acrylic paint can be harmful if you accidentally swallow in large quantities of it, for example.
But some types of this paint contain heavy metals and other toxic chemicals! Those are not only dangerous to people, but they can also harm your pets, wild animals, plants, and the entire environment!
This is why, when any toxic ingredients are present in paint, such acrylic paint is considered hazardous waste, of course. So obviously, you don’t want to throw it in your trash or wash it down the sink!
For those of you who are wondering whether or not acrylic paint is biodegradable, or whether or not acrylic paints eco-friendly, the answer is going to be a bit more lear.
Since acrylic paints contain a variety of chemicals (no matter whether the paint is toxic or not), they cannot be considered eco-friendly. Even if they aren’t toxic!
This type of paint includes a petroleum-derived polymer which makes it essentially plastic-based, so of course, one can’t consider such a substance to be biodegradable.
Related: How to Get Rid Of Acrylic Smell?
Can Acrylic Paint Be Recycled?
If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of the environment, you might be also wondering whether you can recycle acrylic paints. As for the non-toxic acrylic paint, it can be recycled indeed. When you bring such paint leftovers to a recycling center, it will have to go through several stages first:
- They will check it according to quality standards
- The paint will be screened
- It will be filtered
- They will match it with other paints of a similar color and composition to create recycled paint that others can use
At this point, you have to note that not all recycling centers accept paint. This is why, before you bring your acrylic leftovers to your local facility, we suggest you double-check with them in order to see if they have non-toxic acrylic paint recycling drop-off options at all.
Otherwise, if they don’t, you will have to search for them elsewhere.
In case such a recycling option does not suit you (for instance, if you have no recycling station nearby), you can always try out another option for getting rid of your leftover acrylic paint in an eco-friendly way.
For example, you can consider donating it to an organization that can use it!
You might be able to bring it to your local Habitat for Humanity store, or donate the paint to your area school’s art class or drama department, or even offer it to a community theatre group if you have it in your area!
Like this, the paint that can still be used will find its place and will end up being turned into something beautiful, instead of just being tossed away.
Well, this is all that we were going to share with you today on the subject of disposal of acrylic paint leftovers.
Now you know whether or not this paint is harmful to the environment and people, and also, you have learned what exactly needs to be done in order to dispose of acrylic paint leftovers both correctly and in an eco-friendly way.
You are now aware of how to dispose of toxic acrylic paints and what you shall do if you need to get rid of the used non-toxic paint.
Also, we provided you with a few handy and simple options you can stick to if you have no idea of where you can donate that leftover paint.
We hope that now you will be able to cope with this paint easily and dispose of it safely according to the authority’s guides and regulations. Remember that the more responsibly you approach to this issue, the safer your surrounding is!
Leave them open and wait until paint dries inside (check it by pressing the tube). And them bring the tubes to the local recycling center that accepts paint. The safest solution is to bring it to the local dispose facility. If you don’t want the paint to be tossed away, donate it to the local school, etc. Rinse water that was used to wash acrylic paint off brushes can be poured down the drain if the paint is not toxic.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐ How to dispose of acrylic paint tubes?
⭐How to safely dispose of large amounts of acrylic paint?
⭐How to dispose of acrylic paint rinse water?
Leave them open and wait until paint dries inside (check it by pressing the tube). And them bring the tubes to the local recycling center that accepts paint.
The safest solution is to bring it to the local dispose facility. If you don’t want the paint to be tossed away, donate it to the local school, etc.
Rinse water that was used to wash acrylic paint off brushes can be poured down the drain if the paint is not toxic.