Preventing paint from ending up in the landfill

1) Don’t buy more than you need.
All paint has suggested coverage rates printed on the can. Carefully determine the area to be painted, taking into account what will NOT be painted (e.g. subtract the area of windows, unpainted doors and trim etc. from the total square footage to be painted). If you bought a standard color (NOT custom mixed) from a retailer and never opened the can, you might be able to return it to the store and get your money back. Keep your receipts.

2) Blend and use old paints.
If you have shades of a color, combine them, as long as the finish (gloss level) is similar. You just might like the result. Also good for unimportant, hidden areas (such as the inside of a storage closet) where an exact color match is not critical. For best results:

  • NEVER blend oil-based and latex (water-based) paints.
  • Pour old paint through a screen to eliminate lumps and grit before using.
  • Pour mixed paint back and forth between cans a dozen times to blend thoroughly.
  • Clean off paint can lid rims and close tightly before storing to keep the can airtight and paint fresh for re-use. Put small amounts in a smaller airtight container and keep for touch-ups.

3) Donate unused paint
An arts and crafts organization/group might appreciate small amounts of paint, especially colors that might not blend well with other colors. Sadly Crooked Canvas is no longer with us. The Habitat ReStore (70 Fuller Rd., Albany:; 275-6638) will accept ONLY unopened paint with the seal intact and the can in good condition (not if it’s been rusting in the garage for years).

If the paint is beyond rescue, and must be discarded:

DO NOT throw liquid paint into your household garbage. It must be thoroughly dried first. Small amounts can be poured over newspaper and discarded when the paint is thoroughly dry. Leaving the lid off a can will eventually dry out the contents, but this can take a while.

Liquid paint can be discarded only in your City’s HazMat collection; check your city for details.

HazMat collection is at the Alamo on specified days in mid-summer, to be posted on the website. Days will also be advertised on city social media and the community email list, which you can join by sending an email to:, with “community email list” in the subject line.
The Alamo is on Main St, off Rt. 4 in South Troy.

Colonie Landfill: they MIGHT actually recycle the paint rather than discard it (info was not confirmed).

  • HazMat days are open to Colonie residents ONLY
  • residents must register in advance at (800) 494-2273 and produce ID at drop-off
  • 3 HazMat days this year: April 20, 4-7 p.m.; June 25, 3-6 p.m.; September 14, 4-7 p.m.


Vermont and Connecticut have paint stewardship programs where you can drop off and buy good quality recycled paint. Unfortunately, no such program exists in New York state. For information on paint stewardship programs, see

Passono Paints used to have a paint recycling program but discontinued it due to cost and its labor intensive nature.

TAP had a paint recycling program, and would be willing to resurrect the program if there’s enough volunteers and community support.

What’s needed for a local paint recycling program:

  • volunteers to collect paint, organize and manage the program
  • space to sort, filter and store paint (must be somewhat heated in the winter so the paint does not freeze). TAP previously used space at the old North Station, owned by the city.
  • shaker to mix paint

Possible partners:

  • Troy Salvage
  • Margination
  • Troy Alley Action

Contact Barbara Nelson at TAP Inc. 210 River Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 274-3050,