Proper Disposal of Paint

Paint Use, Storage and Recycling

Buy the Right Amount

When estimating how much paint you need, there are several variables to take into account. Measure your room, bring measurements to the paint store, and ask staff for help figuring out how much paint to buy. Have answers ready for the following questions:

  • What is the square footage?
  • Are you making a big color change?
  • Is the surface textured?
  • What sheen? Shiny or flat?
  • Have you used primer?
  • Would a tinted primer help with coverage?
  • Visit for more tips on buying, storing and using paint.

Use It Up

Using leftover paint can save money.

More than a gallon: Use light shades as primers for other paint projects, or donate to a friend, neighbor, or local organization who can use it.

Less than a gallon: Paint a small room, like a bathroom or a closet. Experiment with accent walls, a wall with many windows, or a wall that flanks stairs. You can also recoat a scuffed-up piece of furniture. Paint garden accents and edging, or protect an old fence from weathering.

A quart: Perfect for updating a window frame or two, coordinating picture frames, brightening up the inside of a bookshelf, or creating a color “pop” by painting the inside of a drawer or cabinet.

Store Paint to Last

To prevent paint lids from damage, use a paint key inste of a screwdriver to open and a rubber mallet to close.

Keep the rim clean by poking holes in the rim with a medium size nail so that paint drips back into the can and doesn’t accumulate in the rim. Wipe out the rim regularly while you are working and just before putting on the lid.

Securely strap a rubber band across the top of the paint can to use for cleaning the edge of a paint brush instead of the rim.

Cover the opening with a piece of plastic wrap before putting on the lid. The plastic will act as a gasket, creating a tighter seal.

Store in a cool, dry location.

New California Paint Stewardship Law (AB 1343)

Effective October 2012, this new State law requires paint manufacturers to develop a financially and environmentally sustainable program to manage post-consumer architectural paint and make paint recycling more convenient for consumers.

The American Coatings Association established PaintCare (a non-profit organization responsible for implementing state-mandated paint stewardship programs on behalf of paint manufacturers).

A “PaintCare Recovery Fee” is now included in the purchase price of products that will be accepted at PaintCare drop-off sites, as required by the California Paint Stewardship Law. Fees are based on container size:

Half pint or less No fee
More than half pint to less than one (1) gallon $.035
One (1) gallon $.075
More than one (1) gallon up to five (5) gallons $1.60
The following products WILL BE accepted at PaintCare-partner drop-off sites: The following products WILL NOT be accepted:
  • Latex paints (acrylic, water-based)
  • Oil-based paints (alkyd)
  • Stains
  • Primers, sealers, undercoaters
  • Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes (single component)
  • Deck coatings, floor paints (including elastomeric)
  • Waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellents (not tar or bitumen-based)
  • Swimming pool paints (single component)
  • Metal coatings, rust preventatives
  • Field and lawn paints
  • Paint thinners, mineral spirits and solvents
  • Aerosol paints (spray cans)
  • Auto and marine paints
  • Traffic and road marking paints
  • Arts and crafts paints
  • Caulking compounds, epoxies, glues and adhesives
  • Paint additives, colorants, tints and resins
  • Wood preservatives
  • Roof patch and repair
  • Tar and bitumen-based products
  • 2-component coatings
  • Deck cleaners
  • Industrial Maintenance (IM) coatings
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) (shop application) paints and finishes

PaintCare-partner Drop-off sites INTERACTIVE MAP
Note: Leaking, unlabeled and empty containers are NOT accepted at drop-off sites. Maximum 5 gallons per customer, per store visit:
Long Beach Vista Paint
3405 E. Artesia Blvd
(562) 531-8038
2211 N. Bellflower Blvd
(562) 494-2718
Signal Hill Sherwin-Williams
1000 E. Willow St
(562) 490-3337
1168 Harbor Ave
(562) 432-7961
2925 N. Bellflower Blvd.
(562) 627-1810
  Smith Paint
2875 Cherry Avenue,
(562) 595-4761

Other Disposal Options:

  • Take unwanted paint products to any one of the Permanent Collection Centers listed to the right.
  • Take unwanted paint products to a Local HHW Collection Event (L.A. County CLEANLA)

Additional Resources:

Local Recycling Centers

 View/download a list of all recycling centers HERE


Permanent Collection Centers:

Corner of 28th & California
in Signal Hill (Enter on 28th

Second and Fourth Saturday of each month
9:00 am to 2:00 pm

More HHW Drop-off Options

The Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center in San Pedro is also free to Long Beach residents and will accept your HHW, E-waste, Universal Waste and Home-generated Sharps:

1400 N. Gaffey St.
San Pedro, CA 90731
1-800-98-TOXIC (1-800-988-6942)
Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Open Saturdays and Sundays only


Also, regional collection events are provided by L.A. County
throughout the year.


Environmental Services Bureau
Winner Nation’s Best Solid Waste Management Program Award