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I Wonder… What Can I Do with my Unused Paint?

We all have at least one can of old paint taking up space in our garage or shed. You know – the paint you thought you’d keep around to use on your next project or to fix marks on your walls? Well, now that you’ve changed your color scheme and no longer need that shade, you can’t just put it out on the curb with the rest of your trash because wet paint can be dangerous to the environment unless properly disposed. It contains materials that can leak into the ground, hurt sanitation workers, or contaminate septic tanks. So, what are you supposed to do with it? 

Bring it to our Paint Drop-Off Recycling Event next month!

Saturday, November 18
DC Armory
2001 E Capitol St SE
Washington, DC 20003
9:00am - 1:00pm

What Paint Products Can I Bring?

You can bring latex (water-based) paints and oil-based paints, stains, and varnishes (clear finishes). Please do not bring paint thinners, mineral spirits, solvents, aerosol paints (spray paints), auto and marine paints, or arts and crafts paint as we can’t accept them. Find the full list of paint products that you can bring and how much you can bring at

Who Can Donate?

All DC residents and businesses can bring their paint to the recycling event – proof of District residency will be required.

Paint it Forward

We wanted to pass along some information we learned about unused paint that opened our eyes to other possibilities – and that may cause you to look twice at the unused paint cans in your garage. First, if you seal it correctly, latex paint can last up to 10 years and oil-based paint up to 15 years! Second, just because you don’t need it anymore to fix those marks on your walls, you can use it for kids’ art projects or other DIY projects. Last, but certainly not least, you can donate it to your neighborhood school for their projects or organizations like Habitat for Humanity, or list it on websites like to see if someone else needs it.

Watch Paint Dry

We hope you make it to our event, but if you can’t and still need to discard your old paint, please be sure to dry it out before putting it on the curb. To dry it: Leave it out in the sun, add kitty litter to it, or try adding some paint hardener to it. If you don’t want to put it out on the curb, companies like Lowe’s and PaintCare will recycle it for you, or you can search for a local hazardous waste drop-off site at 

If you have questions about our Paint Drop-Off Recycling Event, e-mail Ida Arabshahi at