City of MLT offers proper paint disposal tips

The following information was submitted by City of Mountlake Terrace Stormwater Program Manager Laura Reed.

Practically everyone has a few cans of old paint around, and it is not always clear how to dispose of it correctly and safely, in a way that avoids mess and protects the environment.  Here’s how you can get rid of your old paint safely.

Oil paint, varnish, or stains (oil-based)

Accepted at Snohomish County Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off station, located at 3434 McDougall Avenue in Everett. Hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. No fee.

Wet latex paint

Can be disposed of at Snohomish County’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Station in Everett, for a fee. Please bring latex paint in its original container, and do not combine partial cans of paint. Fees apply: for less than 1 gallon, one to five containers are $10; 6-10 containers are $20, and 11-15 containers are $30. For 5-gallon containers, one is $10, two are $20, and three are $30.

Dry latex paint

Liquid paint is not accepted for garbage, but if the proper steps are followed to dry it out first, latex paint can be put in the garbage. No fee.

Three ways to dry out latex paint:

  1. Remove the paint can lid and let the paint dry out in the can, in a well-ventilated area. Protect from freezing and rain, as well as curious children and pets. This only works when an inch or less of paint is left in the can and is most effective in the warmer months.
  2. Mix kitty litter, mulch, soil, sawdust or shredded paper into the latex paint and allow the mixture to dry to the consistency of lumpy oatmeal. Use a 50/50 mixture for the fastest drying time.
  3. Mix a commercial paint hardener with latex paint according to the directions.

Information adapted from: “What to Do with Unwanted Latex Paint” by Snohomish County Public Works Solid Waste Division.  For more information, see, or call 425-388-3425, and press “0.”

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