Eau Claire County Recycling Program
How & Where to Recycle Specific Materials
Paint & Paint Cans
Properly handled and stored, latex paint is usable up to 10 years and oil paint up to 15 years. To maximize the life of paint, be sure the lid is on securely and store it upside down. Even paint that has been frozen can be used if it doesn't show lumps when applied.
Wisconsin law makes it illegal to dispose of liquid or semi-liquid paint in a landfill, but it is generally safe to throw away paint that is thoroughly hardened. The exception to this is paint that contained mercury or penta compounds, or marine, automotive or hobby paints that contain cadmium or chrome. These paints should be handled as hazardous wastes.
You can help avoid having a disposal problem by buying only the amount of paint you need. Although a quart of paint is less expensive when you purchase it by the gallon as opposed to an individual quart can, you lose your savings if you have to throw away leftover paint.
If you have paint that you no longer need but which is still in good condition, here are some suggestions on finding others who can use it:
- Ask friends, family members and neighbors if they can use it;
- Put notices on bulletin boards;
- During warm weather months, put it at the end of your driveway with a "Free Paint" sign;
- Call the places on the following table; they take paint on an "as needed" basis: (Note - This list was updated in August, 2012)
|| Phone Number
| Eau Claire Children's Theater
|| Wayne Merritt
| Altoona High School Theater
|| Kim Butnick
|| 839-6031 ext. 411
| Chippewa Falls High School Theater
|| Molly Nowlan
|| 726-2406 ext. 1217
| Memorial High School Theater
If you cannot find anyone to accept your usable paint, or if your paint is not in good enough condition to donate it, we recommend that you try to dry it at home. In particular, you can speed up the drying time of latex paint by adding materials that absorb the water-content. Some home improvement centers sell products for this purpose. You can also use other materials such as clay-based cat litter or cement mix.
As a last resort, both latex and oil paint are accepted through the Clean Sweep program but there is a charge of $1.00 - $4.00 per can for latex paint depending on the size of the can, ranging from one pint to one gallon.