How to Dispose of Acrylic Paint? – [Know Methods]

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

Irrespective of your painting experience and skills level, you should know that the wrong disposal of acrylic paint has bad effects on the environment. However, while the right process might not be new to the experts, the newbies might find it challenging on how to dispose of acrylic paint.

The proper way to dispose of acrylic paint is to donate, recycle the paint, dry the paint, or submit it to the local hazardous waste center. Either of the four ways is the proper and safest way of disposing of your acrylic paint after any painting project.

When disposing of any leftover acrylic paint, you can choose any of the four options above. Without further delay, let us go through all you should know about acrylic paint and its disposal methods below.

Is Acrylic Paint Bad For The Environment?

Acrylic paint is bad for the environment when you dispose of it wrongly, such as dumping it in the sink, into the sewer system, and on the ground. The environmental effect can be damaging, which is the reason you should use alternative paints that are eco-friendly.

Is Acrylic Paint Bad For The Environment

If you are using acrylic paint for your project, you must know the paint is not environmentally friendly. Although it is safe for use because it is a water-based paint, it has some chemicals that make it unsafe for the environment.

According to, many people wash their paint brush or the leftovers in the drain and it ends up washing off into the stream or ocean. The paint contains chemicals and will be unsafe for animals that live in the water. Also, the ones that get to the ground will affect the nutrients in the soil and affect the growth of some plants.

Is Acrylic Paint Considered Hazardous Waste?

Acrylic paint is not eco-friendly, and neither is it biodegradable, which means it is hazardous to the environment. Fortunately, there are different hazardous waste collection sites where you can take the paint.

You should not dispose of yourself if you have little or no knowledge of what to do and how. You should never pour acrylic paint or its water down the drain. The end product is that it will build up lots of sludge, and it is nowhere safe or good for the environment.

Is Acrylic Paint Considered Hazardous Waste

Also, you should never dispose of the paint on the floor. If you do that closer to your garden or lawn, the chemicals in the paint will affect the nutrients in the soil and will alter the healthy condition of your flowers or plants.

Also, if you ask if the paint is toxic, I will say it is not. Which means it has no hazard risk involved when you are using it. It is safe to use for humans as it is water-based but never should you use the paint on your body, especially your face.

Take note that acrylic paint is not toxic but is not just safe for the environment because some chemicals are used during its production.

How to Dispose of Acrylic Paint Water

Now that you know that acrylic paint is hazardous to the environment and not safe, how then can you dispose of it? You do not have to lose your breath on that. I have the solution for you.

There are four distinctive ways you can dispose of your acrylic paint. You can read the four methods and choose the one that best suits you.

How to Dispose of Acrylic Paint water

Generosity is a way of life, and not everyone loves to give out whatever they own. However, in this kind of situation, you might want to consider it as an option to dispose of your paint. If you have extra paints after the completion of your task, donating the rest is a good thing to do.

There are lots of communities and centers where you can donate the remaining paint. Just search for anyone near you, and then you can dispose of the paint.

Recycling the paint

One of the options with disposing of your acrylic paint rightly is recycling. The only significant setback with this method is that not all recycling centers have the option for acrylic paint. So, you need to do your findings and get the right recycling center to donate the paint.

The process of recycling might involve matching the paint with some other paints of similar color and composition. The fact is that you can recycle your acrylic paint, but you can’t do the task yourself. You need to find the right center for it and donate the paint for recycling.

Let The Paint Dry Out

Allowing the leftover paint to dry out is another method of disposing of the paint. You need to remove the cover lid to expose the paint. Once you do that, you should expect the paint to solidify, and then you can dispose of it in your garbage or trash can.

Let The Paint Dry Out

You should find an open space to expose the paint and never do it inside your home. Also, you can break down the paint into smaller particles and dispose of it in the trash can if you still need the container.

Take It To A Local Hazardous Waste Center

It is the final method I will share with you. It seems like the best to me, but locating a local hazardous center might be challenging for some. If you have any near you, you should take the paint there. Most of them have the collection point for acrylic paint and many others.

So, you can dispose of your paint through this method. However, the other options above will be good for you if you do not have a waste center anywhere near you.

Is It Illegal To Wash Acrylic Paint In The Sink?

Getting acrylic paint in the sink is never a good thing to do, but is it illegal? It is illegal if the paint washes off into local waterways or storm drains, harming the ecosystem and wildlife. So, one can likely face the law for such an act depending on the state environmental regulation and law.

Some states give out regulations on how you can dispose of acrylic paint. Once you violate the rule by disposing of wrongly, you are likely to face the law or pay for any fine given to you. It is the reason you should always ask to know the legal way of disposing of any of your leftover acrylic paint.

Any paint water you release in the sink tends to find its way to the street down the storm drain and to the ocean. According to, you should never dispose of paint or any paint-related products in the storm or gutters. It is called illegal dumping if you do that.

Is It Bad For Acrylic Paint To Go Down The Drain?

It is not good for acrylic paint to go down the drain for any reason. You have nothing to justify such action if you are caught. The effect of doing so can be seen with the build-up of paint in your pipes over time as the residue solidifies.

Also, once the paint gets through to the local waterways, it can contaminate the water and affect anything the water comes in contact with. Just imagine the water getting into the stream where you have aquatic animals; it will make their habitats unbearable for them to survive anymore.

In addition, getting such water to the floor of your garden or farm will affect the production of whatever you have on the field. So, it is never a good thing to allow the acrylic paint water to go down the drain.

Can You Throw Away Empty Paint Cans?

Yes you can throw away empty paint cans instead of having your home littered with cans that you trash. Once you are through with the painting task and you have left overs, you can go with the option of disposing the paint in the right way.

However, if you have to trash the can, you should reuse the remaining paint and wash the inner part of the can. You need to ensure that the paint can is neat with no trace of paint in it. It is not appropriate that you have paint in your trash because it is unsafe for the environment.

You should only dispose of an empty can in your trash or get it to the local center where you can donate the paint can for recycling. It is the best thing to do compared to dropping the paint can in your trash can.


Doing your research on how to dispose of acrylic paint shows how concerned you are about doing the right thing. Many people end up causing more harm to their environment due to ignorance or less information on acrylic paint. So, on this page, you get to know more about the paint and the right way to dispose of the paint.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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