• Where to Recycle

    You can drop off your old or leftover residential paint for free at more than 400 recycling locations across Ontario. These locations include some retail stores and municipal depots where you may already take other recyclable household products.

    • Paint must be in its original container, tightly sealed, with the labels affixed.
    • Do not mix different types of paint products together.
    • You can bring up to 10 containers of paint or 50 spray cans at a time (no larger than 30 liters or 30 kilograms for paint or 680 grams / 24 ounces for paint aerosols).
    • At municipal paint recycling locations, residency restrictions and daily drop-off amounts may vary. Check your municipality’s website or contact your nearest recycling location for full details.
  • Acceptable Items

    • Interior and exterior water-based (latex, acrylic) and oil-based (alkyd, enamel) household paint
    • Undercoat and primers (e.g., metal, wood, etc.)
    • Anti-rust paint
    • Block filler
    • Concrete and masonry paint
    • Deck and floor paint or coatings (including elastomeric)
    • Drywall paint
    • Marine paint (unless registered under Pest Control Products Act)
    • Melamine, stain, and shellac
    • Stain-blocking paint
    • Stucco paint
    • Swimming pool paint (only single component)
    • Textured paint
    • Varnish and urethane (only single component)
    • Wood finishing oil
    • Wood preservatives (unless registered under Pest Control Products Act)
    • Wood, masonry, driveway sealer, and water repellent (including tar-based or bitumen-based)
    • Aerosol paint
  • Special Instructions

    Dry it out: Allow it to totally dry. If there is less than a quarter of a can remaining, it is safe to let the paint sit in the sun—in an area away from children and pets—until the remaining liquid dries out.

    What you cannot bring:

    • Brushes, rags, and rollers
    • Caulking compound, epoxies, glues, and adhesives
    • Deck cleaners
    • Household cleaners
    • Non-aerosol automotive paint
    • Non-aerosol industrial paints and finishes (e.g., baked-on, heat-resistant, etc.)
    • Non-aerosol traffic or line marking paint
    • Paint for skating rinks and curling club floors
    • Paint in glass containers

The Paint Recycling Process Explained

After collection, the paint is meticulously sorted by type: oil-based, latex-based, or aerosol. This is what happens after.

Recycling Latex Paint

  • Latex paint, also known as water-based paint, is commonly used for walls and ceilings due to its ease of application.
  • Here’s how the recycling process unfolds for latex paint: Recycling latex paint typically involves a process where the paint is sorted, screened, and filtered to remove any contaminants. Then, the paint is mixed with other waste latex paint to create a recycled product that can be used again. The specifics of the process can vary depending on the recycling facility and the technology they use.
  • Fun Fact: Manufacturing paint with recycled content can produce up to four times less greenhouse gases than virgin paint, depending on the brand.

Poor Quality Paint

Paint that is previously frozen, partly solid, or contaminated falls into the “poor quality” category.

Liquid poor-quality paint can be used as an additive in various concrete manufacturing processes, extending the life of concrete products.

Solid paint cans are cut open, removed, and consolidated.

Recycling Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based or alkyd paints are known for their high gloss and durability. They’re often used on furniture, cabinetry, and trims.

The recycling process for oil-based paint involves:

  • Workers emptying oil-based paints into large shipping containers.
  • In some provinces, a portion of bulked oil-based paint is recycled into other types of coatings.
  • In other provinces, it’s sent to a hazardous waste management company for testing and energy recovery.
  • The chemistry of oil-based paint makes it challenging to recycle into new paint and coating products, and the market for recycled oil-based products is smaller than for latex paints.