Paint can be highly toxic to the environment if improperly disposed. It can harm fish and wildlife, contaminate water, and cause sewage treatment systems to be less effective.

The Buddy System

When Buying & Using Paint, Remember the “Buddy” System

B Buy only what you need. Measure your walls or ask your retailer for help in estimating how much paint you will need.
U Use all the paint you buy. Add an extra coat for more protection or give leftovers to a neighbor or community group.
D Dispose of leftovers safely and responsibly. Do not put liquid paint in the garbage, down any drains, or on the ground.
D Do not allow paint to freeze. Store paint for years by placing plastic wrap over the opening and making sure the lid fits tightly. Turn the can upside-down to form a tight seal.
Y You will help protect the environment and save money in the process if you follow these simple steps.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is water based and is not considered hazardous once it is completely dried out. If instructions say soap and water clean-up, it is latex paint.

To Dispose of Latex Paint:

  •  Open the containers in a well ventilated area away from pets and children.
  •  To speed up the drying process, add kitty litter, sawdust, or other absorbent material. Or spread some of the paint on cardboard, scrap wood, or drywall.
  •  When the paint is completely dry, put it out with your trash (call your trash hauler for their requirements or limits.)
  • There are also some businesses that will take latex paint for a fee.

Oil Based Paint

Oil based paint products, including stains, primers, thinners, lacquers, mineral spirits and turpentine, require solvents or mineral spirits for clean-up. Also, if the warning label says “Combustible,” it is oil based. Oil based paint products should be used sparingly and any leftovers or old products should be taken to a Livingston County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Event appointments are required and space is limited. If you have questions, email us at or call (517) 545-9609.

Solid Waste /​ DPW
Brian Jonckheere

Brian Jonckheere
Drain Commissioner



(517) 545-9609


Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed County Holidays


2300 E Grand River Ave.
Suite 105
Howell, MI 48843


(517) 545-9658