Paint Illegal in Garbage & Drains Hazardous Waste Never Dump Down the Drain Dispose of oil- or water-based paint as Household Hazardous Waste. Never dump paint down the drain because it can contaminate lakes and rivers. Recycle for Free With PaintCare Recycle your unwanted house paint, primer, stain, or varnish for free at a PaintCare drop-off location. Both latex and oil-based products are accepted. All locations accept up to five gallons per visit (some take more). Paint containers should be five gallons in size or smaller and have original labels. No leaking, unlabeled, or empty containers. Spray paint is not accepted. For a list of products accepted for recycling or to find a drop-off location, visit PaintCare’s website. Throw Away Empty Cans Let empty paint cans dry out before disposing of them. Then, throw them in the trash without the lid, in order to show that the can is empty. Did You Know? We All Buy Too Much Paint Leftover paint is the single largest waste stream that local HHW programs find themselves managing. According to the EPA, approximately 10 percent of all paint sold each year will not be used.