What do I do with…?

White Paint and Paint Brushes


What is paint waste? Leftover paint, primer, stains, etc. that go unused.

Why is paint waste a problem? Most paints contain chemicals that can be harmful to environmental and human health if disposed of in liquid form in a landfill.

Examples: interior paint, exterior paint, spray paint, acrylic, latex, oil-based, water-based, stains, primers, watercolor, craft paints, fabric paints, child-safe paints


  • Be mindful of the amount you need to avoid leftovers

  • Choose to leave your project “all natural” instead of painting it

  • Adopt a minimalist lifestyle where paint is not a necessity


  • Reuse leftover paints for DIY projects and crafts

  • Donate to local art societies and schools (appropriate paint materials only)

  • Home ReSource accepts donations of used paint for resale to the public and proper disposal (call to check current acceptance policies)

    • Original label

    • Prefer mis-tints or surplus in unopened containers

    • Cans at least 3/4 full

    • All coatings must be less than five years old and never stored outdoors

    • Unacceptable: rusted paint cans

  • Habitat for Humanity Restore accepts donations of:

    • Water-based paint/stain/primer/clear coat

    • No oil based unless unopened

  • Donate watercolor paints to YWCA for use in their youth programs


  • Oil-based paints cannot be recycled; reuse or dispose of as household hazardous waste

  • Water-based paints can be recycled in areas where the service is offered

    **For Missoula your best option is reducing paint usage and reusing the leftovers.

Safe Disposal Tips:

If you have unwanted paint or paint that has gone bad, you can dispose of it in a safe manner by mixing the paint with kitty litter or sawdust and laying it out to dry. Do this outside. When the mix is fully dry, you can safely dispose of it in the landfill.


Home ReSource
1515 Wyoming St.
(406) 541-8300

Habitat for Humanity Restore
3655 Highway 200 East
(406) 549-8215

YWCA donations
(406) 543-6691