WMD home
dec home > wmpd home > HHW > products > paint
Household Hazardous Waste
    Automotive Products
    Household Products
    Lawn & Garden Products
    Proper HHW Disposal
    Special Wastes
Business Waste   Reduction
Construction Waste Reduction
Hazardous Waste   Management
Mercury Information
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Sites Management
Solid Waste
Underground Storage   Tanks


Household Hazardous Waste
Household Products - Paint

return to all HHW Products page

Paint Product Stewardship Legislation (Act 58)

In order to promote proper management and the recycling of paint, the Vermont Legislature passed Paint Product Stewardship Legislation (Act 58) in May 2013.  This legislation will implement a new Paint Stewardship Program that will begin July 1, 2014 at the latest.  Under this program, manufacturers are responsible for collecting and managing leftover architectural paint (both oil and latex). This program will allow for free paint recycling/disposal at many convenient locations throughout the state such as paint retailers, recycling centers, hazardous waste facilities and collection events.  It is funded by a small fee included at the point of sale of paint cans throughout the state.  See the box below for links to program information and for the full legislation.

Vermont Paint Stewardship Program Information:

Final Vermont Paint Stewardship Program Plan (PDF)

A draft of the proposed program plan was submitted by PaintCare in late January, and was available for public comment for 30 days. Comments from this public comment period were addressed by the Agency and are refelcted in the Final Plan.

PaintCare is currently on track to begin the program on May 1, 2014.

Other documents prepared by PaintCare:

Visit www.PaintCare.org for more updates and information.


Paint Information


Paint is used on the interior and exteriors of our houses. It is used to change the color and to protect the surface from sun and water damage. Paint is a mixture of resins, solvents, additives, and pigments. There are two types of paint depending on the base liquid. These are oil (oil/alkyd-based) or latex (water based).

Oil paints are more hazardous than latex paints due to their petroleum base and require a solvent-like turpentine to clean up. Latex paint is easier to work with, to clean up (soap and water), and it is not as harmful to human health and the environment if handled properly. Oil and latex paints are now made for both interior and exterior uses.


Older paints may contain harmful heavy metals, such as lead and mercury. Lead was used as a drying agent and pigment in oil based paints as well as some latex paints. In 1978, the US Product Safety Commission reduced the maximum lead content in paint to only trace amounts (not harmful). Older homes from 1940-1960 may contain paint that has large amounts of lead in it. Mercury was added to paints (interior and exterior, latex and oil) as a fungicide to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew on painted surfaces. Mercury use in paints is now prohibited but many paints are still around that may contain mercury.

Oil paints give off large amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs contribute to air pollution, and can cause liver and kidney damage after long-term exposure. Oil paint is flammable, making storage and handling difficult. Latex paint also contains some resins and additives that when applied in a closed room can cause irritation to the eyes and lungs. Many of the resins, pigments, and additives are also toxic to aquatic animals when the paint ends up in the water supply.

Proper recycling and/or disposal of paint lessens harmful impact on our environment and is a better use of resources.



  • Store all of your paint in a temperature controlled room.  Freezing temperatures can cause paint to go bad.
  • Latex paint can be recycled.  See the link below for a location or a collection event near you.  If none of these options are yet available to you, your latex paint can be dried and thrown in the trash as a last resort. Remember- Do not ever dry oil paint. The VOCs are a source of air pollution.
  • Do not dump liquid paint down drains or in the trash.
  • Oil paint must be used up or brought to a local Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility or event.                                                                                                                                        

Where to take HHW:


Towns and solid waste districts hold hazardous waste collection events every year, two per year at minimum (spring and fall) and many common household hazardous wastes can be disposed of at these events. For more information and event scheduling, contact your solid waste district. Find contact information on the solid waste district contact list page. (Note: If you live in a village, fire district, etc., please select the town your village, fire district, etc. is in from the list. If your town is not a member of a district, contact information for your town clerk is provided.)

Solid Waste Management Districts contact list

After May 1st, 2014, see www.paintcare.org for additional drop off locations.



VT DEC Waste Management & Prevention Division 1 National Life Drive - Davis 1  Montpelier, VT  05620-3704  Tele: 802-828-1138   Fax: 802-828-1011


State of Vermont Agencies & Depts.     Access Government 24/7     About Vermont.Gov     Privacy Policy

A Vermont Government Website Copyright 2003 State of Vermont - All rights reserved