Look into any home’s garage and you’re likely to see a collection of paint cans — some old, some not-so-old — but most of which are likely to sit unused for years. Why do we hang on to them? Because figuring out how and where to get rid of them safely — without harming others or the environment — can be confusing.

The City of Dallas classifies household hazardous wastes (HHW) as “chemicals which could cause harm to the environment if they are thrown into your garbage roll cart, poured down the drain or storm sewer, illegally dumped, or stored incorrectly.” This includes aerosols, batteries, pool chemicals, and of course—paint.

So just where do you dispose of these materials? If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, you have a few options:

We’ve done a little research to find out what you need to know about getting rid of your old paint if you live in the Dallas area. Here are 5 ways that you can get rid of old paint if you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.

1. Use it Up

If you have a used paint can with only a small amount of paint left, try finding ways to use it around the house for small projects. You could freshen up a bookcase or coffee table, paint the dog house, flower boxes, or your mailbox. Want to change up your interiors? Create an accent wall in your home or repaint the interior of your closets or cabinets. Once most of the paint is gone, let the paint left in the can dry, and then you can toss it into your trash bin.

2. Donate It

If properly stored and still usable, many individuals or groups might be interested in the paint you no longer need. Neighbors, scout troops, schools, community theatres, charities, or churches are all likely candidates. List what you have on CraigsList, NextDoor or Facebook to see if there are any takers.

3. Dry It and Toss (Latex Paint Only!)

Oil-based paint is always considered hazardous waste, but latex paint is water-based and therefore can be thrown away in your normal trash pickup if you dry it out first. To dry small amounts of latex paint, you can simply leave the lid off the can in a well-ventilated area until the water evaporates Alternatively, you can mix an equal amount of cat litter to the can, stir until it has the consistency of oatmeal, and allow it to sit for an hour. When you toss the can into your garbage bin, leave the lid off. (Watch this video to see the technique in action.)

Alternatively, you can mix an equal amount of cat litter to the can (if there is room), stir until it has the consistency of oatmeal, and allow it to sit for an hour. When you toss the can into your garbage bin, leave the lid off. (Watch this video to see the technique in action.) There are also commercial paint hardeners available at hardware stores, but they are much pricier than the cat litter alternative.

4. Take it to a Dallas County Collection Center

If the above options don’t work for you, the city has established a couple of ways you can deliver your old paint to someone who will make sure it’s disposed of properly:

  • The Dallas County Home Chemical Collection Center: All approved household hazardous waste can be disposed of at this center, which is located at 11234 Plano Road in Northeast Dallas. They accept paint along with home chemical products, home repair products, lawn and garden chemicals, and more (you can find a full list of approved items on their website).

    The center is only open on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm, and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, so plan accordingly!

  • BOPA: BOPA is a mobile collection point for four types of hazardous waste: batteries, oil, paint, and antifreeze. The BOPA collection truck hits a different location around the area for collection one Saturday a month. You can find out when they’ll be in your neck of the woods on the Sanitation Services’ events page. They will only take 25 gallons of material a day per household and no more than 50 pounds of batteries. To drop off at the BOPA Mobile, you must show proof that you live in a Dallas County HHW member city. Proof includes a driver’s license or utility bill showing your name and address.

    Due to COVID-19, all collection events have been suspended until further notice, though you can still drop off items at the collection center.

    Both of these disposal options are available to residents of Addison, Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville, Farmers Branch, Garland, Highland Park, Irving, Mesquite, Richardson, Rowlett, Sachse, Seagoville, Sunnyvale, University Park, and unincorporated areas of Dallas County.

5. Find Another Collection Location

Earth911 maintains an extensive list of recycling and disposal options for more than 350 materials. Simply type “paint” in the search bar and add your zip Code. You will find a list of events or drop-off locations that meet your criteria.

We hope you find this information helpful! If you have questions, you can contact the City of Dallas Sanitation Services Department at 214-670-5111.

Image Credit: Mary Gerush