Most waste removal companies allow latex paint to go in the regular trash. Oil-based paint is considered a hazardous waste material and must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.
Latex paint is good for up to 10 years when stored properly. Before tossing the paint, the user might use it for another project or donate it to Habitat for Humanity or another local charity. If saving or recycling the paint isn't an option, the owner can dry it out and toss it.
For a large quantity of latex paint, the owner may need a little help drying it out. Pouring the paint in a box of shredded newspaper or kitty litter helps solidify the paint. The user can toss the hardened paint in the trash if allowed by local law.
Allowing oil-based paint to air dry is unsafe. Instead, the user should search for a local hazardous waste facility. Some facilities allow drop-off at any time of the year. Many communities also hold special days once or more per year when residents can drop of hazardous materials, including oil-based paint.
Some waste haulers may allow customers to recycle empty paint cans. Customers should contact the recycling company to determine if the paint cans can go in the recycling bin.