What to Do With Empty Paint Cans?

Are you wondering what to do with those empty paint cans in your garage or storage room? Don’t just toss them in the trash – plenty of responsible and creative options for disposing of or reusing them.

From recycling the cans to turning them into planters, storage containers, or even furniture, there’s a disposal or reuse option for everyone.

So if you want to clear out your clutter and do your part for the planet, keep reading to discover five easy and eco-friendly options for disposal or reuse.

5 Smart Ways to Dispose of or Reuse Empty Paint Cans

Painting projects are a great way to spruce up any home, but what do you do with all the empty paint cans when the job is done? Instead of throwing away these cans, there are many smart ways to reuse or dispose of them properly.

Method 1: Recycle the Can

One responsible option for disposing of empty paint cans is to recycle them. Many recycling centers will accept empty metal paint cans as long as they are empty and the lids are removed. To recycle your cans, take them to a recycling center or contact your local hazardous waste facility to see if they will accept them for proper disposal.

Not only does recycling help reduce waste and protect the environment, but it also conserves natural resources and reduces the need for manufacturing new products. So if you want to do your part for the planet, recycling your empty paint cans is a great place to start.

Method 2: Use the Can as a Planter

If you have a green thumb or love growing herbs and flowers, consider repurposing your empty paint cans as planters. This is a fun and creative way to reuse cans and a great way to add some greenery to your home or garden.

To turn a paint can into a planter, you must drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Then, fill the can with soil and plant your seeds or seedlings.

You can use the can to grow a wide variety of herbs and flowers, depending on your preferences and the size of the can. Just be sure to water and care for your plants regularly, and you’ll have a beautiful and functional planter in no time.

Method 3: Repurpose the Can as a Storage Container or Piece of Furniture

Empty paint cans are surprisingly versatile and can be used for various projects around the house. One idea is to use the cans as storage containers for small tools, screws, nails, and other odds and ends.

Clean the can, label it with a permanent marker, and fill it with whatever you need to store. You can even stack several cans on top of each other to create a custom storage solution for your workshop or garage.

Another option is to repurpose the cans as furniture. You can use the cans as makeshift stools or side tables by adding a few coats of paint or wrapping them in fun patterned fabric. This is a great way to add some character and functionality to your home, and it’s also a great way to upcycle something that might otherwise end up in the trash.

Method 4: Use the Can as an Organizer in the Garage or Workshop

If you’re always looking for ways to stay organized and tidy your workspace, empty paint cans can be a great solution. You can use them to store large rolls of tape, extension cords, or even bags of pet food. The cans are sturdy and easy to stack, so you can create a custom storage system that works for you.

Using the cans as organizers will help keep your garage or workshop clutter-free and make it easier to find what you need when you need it. So if you’re tired of rummaging through piles of stuff to find what you’re looking for, consider repurposing your empty paint cans as organizers.

Method 5: Donate the Can to a School or Community Center

Suppose you have a lot of empty paint cans and don’t have the time or resources to reuse or recycle them; consider donating them to a school or community center. Many schools and community organizations use paint cans for various art projects, and they may be grateful to receive a donation of empty cans.

This is a great way to give back to your community and help promote creativity and learning. Just be sure to check with the school or organization before donating the cans to ensure they can use them and find their preferred method of receiving the donation.

Can I Dispose of Empty Paint Cans and Mineral Spirit Soaked Rags Together?

When it comes to disposing mineral spirit soaked rags, it’s important to handle them properly. Empty paint cans and mineral spirit soaked rags should not be disposed of together. Instead, check with your local waste management facility for the correct procedures for each item to ensure safe and responsible disposal.

How Do You Dry Out Paint Cans?

When you have finished using a paint can, and there is still some paint left over, it is important to seal the can properly so the paint does not dry out. If the paint does dry out, it will be difficult to use again and may even ruin your painting project. Here are some tips on how to dry out paint cans:

  • Remove as much paint from the can as possible before sealing. Use a brush or other tool to get all of the excess paint out of the can.
  • Once you have removed as much paint as possible, securely put the lid back on the can.
  • Place the sealed can upside down in a water-filled sink or bucket. The water will help moisten the air inside the can, preventing the paint from drying out.
  • Leave the sealed can in the water for at least 24 hours before reopening it.
  • This will give the moisture time to work its way into the dried paint and rehydrate it.

The best way to Dispose of Empty Latex Paint Cans?

If you have empty latex paint cans, don’t just throw them in the trash! There are proper ways to dispose of them so they don’t end up in landfills. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Check if your local recycling center accepts empty paint cans. Many centers will take them if the cans are empty and dry.
  • Suppose your local recycling center doesn’t accept paint cans. In that case, you can try contacting your city or county waste management department to see if they have special instructions for disposing of them.
  • If all else fails, you can always throw the empty paint cans in the trash. However, check local laws and regulations to ensure this is allowed in your area.


As you can see, plenty of responsible and creative options exist for disposing of or reusing empty paint cans. Whether you recycle the cans, turn them into planters or storage containers, or repurpose them as furniture or organizers, you can find a way to get rid of your empty cans in a way that’s good for the environment and your home.

So next time you have an empty paint can, don’t just toss it in the trash – there are plenty of innovative and sustainable ways to eliminate it.

Leave a Comment