Paint Management

California’s Paint Stewardship Program ensures leftover paint is reused, recycled, or properly disposed. CalRecycle oversees the program, which is run by PaintCare, the nonprofit stewardship organization created by paint manufacturers.

Watch a short video about the program or see the law and regulations for details.

Program News

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PaintCare is the stewardship organization that runs the California Paint Stewardship Program. PaintCare is required to submit a plan that describes how it will run the program. PaintCare also submits annual reports summarizing program activities for each year.

Where Do I Recycle Paint?

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Find a Drop-Off Site Near You

PaintCare’s site locator tool can help you find a paint drop-off site near you.

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Paint Stewardship Program Products

Architectural paint products sold in containers of five gallons or less can be dropped-off at many retail and other collection sites throughout California.

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Empty Paint Cans and Non-Program Products

Aerosol paint and empty paint containers are not part of PaintCare’s program. Contact your city, county, or solid waste provider to find out how to recycle aerosol paint and empty paint containers in your area. For more information on the disposal of aerosol containers, see the Department of Toxic Substances Control website.

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Program highlights infographic. Dated July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022
  • Paint Drop-Off Sites: 847
  • 99% of Californians live within 15 miles of a site
  • Annual Paint Collected: 3,580,449 gallons
  • 94% reused, recycled, or used for a purpose other than landfill disposal
  • Total Paint Collected Since 2012: 31 million gallons
  • 1,894 tons of paint cans recycled
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Program highlights infographic. Dated July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022
  • Paint Drop-Off Sites: 847
  • 99% of Californians live within 15 miles of a site
  • Annual Paint Collected: 3,580,449 gallons
  • 94% reused, recycled, or used for a purpose other than landfill disposal
  • Total Paint Collected Since 2012: 31 million gallons
  • 1,894 tons of paint cans recycled

Paint Stewardship Information

Questions and Answers About Paint Management 

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Is leftover paint a hazardous waste?

Yes. Oil-based paint waste is hazardous and latex paint waste is presumed hazardous in California.

How do I dispose of my paint and paint container? 

Empty paint containers should be recycled or sent to an appropriate solid waste facility. Non-empty paint containers need to be taken to a paint drop-off site or otherwise safely disposed. Contact your city or county recycling coordinator or solid waste service provider if you have questions about what can be disposed in your curbside bins. 

Can I dump leftover paint down the drain?

No. Paint is prohibited from disposal on land or waters and must be recycled, or otherwise safely disposed in California. For information on where to dropoff leftover paint, please visit PaintCare’s Drop-Off Site Locator. 

How do I clean my dirty paint brushes?

Rinse brushes and painting equipment in a sink or basin that can capture the rinse water, so the rinse water can be disposed of in a sanitary sewer (i.e., sink or toilet). Sanitary sewer systems can digest rinse water into harmless products. However, do not pour undiluted paint into a sink or toilet.

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Should I dry my leftover paint and put it in the trash?

Intentionally drying paint without a permit to treat hazardous waste is prohibited in California. Leftover paint, including dried paint, should be taken to a paint drop-off location

How much paint do I need for my project?

You can use PaintCare’s Paint Smarter Tool to determine how much paint is needed for a project, and to find tips to store and use leftover paint. 

Is paint recyclable?

Yes. Paint is recycled back into paint, retaining wall blocks, landscape stones, parking stops, and other products.

Where can I buy recycled paint?

There is a PaintCare list of locations in California that sell recycled paint. 

This page is not intended to provide legal determinations or contain a comprehensive list of legal requirements. The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) regulates hazardous waste in California. Any questions about hazardous waste management may be directed to DTSC at RAO@dtsc.ca.gov or (800) 728-6942. 

For more information contact: Paint Stewardship, paint@calrecycle.ca.gov