Leftover paint should never be thrown in the trash and can often be donated for reuse or resale. Paint poured on the ground, into storm drains or put in the trash could end up in groundwater and streams. If you buy only as much paint as you need to complete a project, you will save money and avoid waste. Click here to quickly calculate exactly how much paint you will need for your painting project.

To store paint for long periods of time, cover the opening of the paint can with a piece of plastic wrap and seal the lid tightly. Store the can upside down and away from heat.

Ideas for leftover paint:

  • Apply a second coat or use for touch-up.
  • Stencil or sponge-paint walls or furniture.
  • Mix latex paint together to use as a base coat (mix interior with interior; exterior with exterior).
  • Give it away on of 
  • Check with neighbors, friends, theater groups or community organizations to see if they could use it.
  • Paint a fence, shed or your doghouse.
  • Donate it to the Boston Building Resources, which accepts paint March-August, only full, unopened new cans of white and materials for scraping and patching as well as paper wall coverings.

Directions for Proper Paint Disposal:

  • Oil-based: Cambridge residents should bring to Household Hazardous Waste Collection or bring to the Minuteman Hazardous Household Products Collection Facility.
  • Latex-based (small amount): If you have one inch or less of leftover latex, dry it out and discard the can. Dry out latex paint by opening the can and letting it evaporate outdoors, away from children and pets. Dispose of the paint can with the lid off with your trash.
  • Latex-based (large amount): Mix in kitty litter or pour one-inch layers of paint in a cardboard box lined with a plastic bag. Stir the paint occasionally to speed drying. Put completely dried paint in the trash. Otherwise, residents bring to Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Recycling Center Hours
Tuesday & Thursday: 4:00pm-7:30pm  
Saturday: 9:00am-4:00pm