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Paint Acceptance Policy


Lewis County offers FREE PAINT to residents and business through the Swap Shack. Click the link to find out more.

Paint Acceptance Policy

The paint acceptance policy for the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility has been revised!  Please read the new policy today.

Oil Based Paint and Flammable Liquids

The following materials are considered hazardous materials:

  • Oil based paint and stains
  • Paint and lacquer thinners
  • Paint and wax strippers
  • Gasoline
  • Car paint and related materials including hardeners

Oil Based Paints, stains and thinners may contain petroleum based solvents, benzene or other chemicals known to negatively affect the nervous system and can cause cancer.

Protect yourself, your family and the environment: Choose NOT to use Oil Based Paints, stains and thinners.

Oil Based Paints, stains and flammable liquids MUST be brought to the household hazardous waste collection facility. Oil based paints and thinners may be diverted to the give-a-way for beneficial use by contractors and a few residential customers. Over 2400 gallons of oil based paints, stains and thinners were given away for free in 2011. Visit the Swap Shack page for more information

Unusable material is properly processed for disposal using a licensed contractor. 2800 gallons of oil based paint, stains and flammable liquids was properly disposed of in 2011. Proper disposal prevented these materials from polluting surface and ground waters in Lewis County. For more information on proper disposal visit the Material Recovery Center web page.

NOTE: Less than one gallon of oil based paint or thinner can make 1 million gallons of drinking water unfit for drinking.

Oil based paint and flammable liquids are transported to a licensed hazardous waste incinerator and properly incinerated.

Is left over latex paint considered a hazardous waste?

Latex paint IS NOT considered a hazardous waste however it is a special waste that cannot be disposed of in the garbage unless solidified. Latex paint cannot be disposed of in the waste water treatment system or the storm water system. Fines will be imposed if you are caught illegally dumping paint into the waterways of Washington State.

What can I do with my leftover latex paint?

The best solution is to not store any left over latex paint. Paint retailers use a computer system to mix paint. Keep your color code and you can have the same color mixed in the future. This alleviates the need to keep touch up paint.

If you have left over latex paint here are some tips to safely store and correctly dispose of the unused paint.

  • Store metal cans on shelves not on concrete floors. This prevents the bottoms from rusting out and developing leaks that will allow the paint to spill.
  • Store latex paint in the garage or heated shed to prevent paint from freezing during the winter.
  • Store flammable paint and liquids in a separate shed away from the house, garage or barn.
  • Use left over paint as a primer the next time you paint.
  • Give it to a friend or neighbor.
  • Donate it to Habitat for Humanity.
  • Use it to paint over graffiti in your neighborhood.
  • Mix with cement, kitty litter or saw dust to solidify, leave the lid off until hard and dispose of in the garbage.

What if my paint is old and the cans are rusty?

Most old latex paint (5 years old ) has separated into liquids and solids. Take the following steps to dispose of old latex paint:

  • Obtain several 5 gal buckets with lids in good condition.
  • Remove the lids of the paint cans, place in a garbage bag and dispose of in the garbage.
  • Pour off the liquid into the 5 gal buckets, leaving the solids in the container.
  • Mix in saw dust, cement, wood chips or kitty litter, allow the solids to dry, place in garbage bags and dispose of in the garbage.
  • Bring the 5 gal buckets of liquid to the Hazo Hut during normal operating hours.

What do I do with cans of paint that are less than 1/4 full?

Many businesses and residential customers have many cans that are less than 1/2 full. Follow these steps to dispose of them. DO NOT BRING THESE CANS TO THE HAZO HUT. THEY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

  • Obtain several bags of kitty litter, cement or other drying material.
  • Remove the lids of the paint cans, place in a garbage bag and dispose of in the garbage.
  • Pour some kitty litter or cement into the can.
  • Mix with a paint stick until all free liquids are absorbed.
  • Allow to dry for several hours to ensure all liquids are gone.
  • Place cans in a garbage bag and dispose of in the garbage.

What can I do with my rinse water from washing brushes and rollers used with Latex Paint?

Rinse water, from cleaning latex paint, is not hazardous. Follow these steps.

  • Roll as much excess paint out of the rollers as possible.
  • Remove rollers from handle. Wrap in a garbage bag and dispose of as garbage. DO NOT CLEAN OR PLACE IN PAINT BUCKET. Cleaning requires too much water.
  • Brush as much paint out of the brush as possible.
  • Clean brushes outside if possible. Rinse water can be used to water lawns, trees and plants.
  • If inside, use three buckets: Bucket #1 is wash bucket with hot water and soap. Bucket #2 is first rinse -- hot water. Bucket #3 is second rinse -- cold water.
  • Wash brushes thoroughly in Bucket #1. Rinse in Bucket #2. Final rinse in bucket #3.
  • Allow wash and rinse buckets to settle for 24 hours.
  • Carefully pour the rinse water down a sink or toilet. Leave behind the last portion of the bucket that contains paint residue.
  • Combine the paint residue from the three buckets into one bucket.
  • Add kitty litter or cement to the one bucket with paint residue to absorb the free liquids.
  • Allow to dry for 24 hours.
  • Place bucket in a garbage bag and dispose of in the garbage.

What can I do with a large quantity of good latex paint?

If you have a large quantity (10 gallons or more) of good latex paint, please call (360) 740-1221. This may be accepted into the give-a-way program and accepted for free!