San Francisco Department of the Environment

How do I get rid of leftover paint from my home?

Get rid of  leftover paint from your home by bringing it to a paint drop-off location in San Francisco.

Paint should never be poured down the drain or disposed of in your recycling, composting, or landfill bins. Paint contains chemicals, which can harm the environment and endanger human health if disposed of improperly.


  • Call locations first before dropping off paint to confirm they will accept what you are getting rid of
  • Most sites will NOT accept more than 5 gallons of paint
  • Retail sites can only accept individual paint containers that are 5 gallons or smaller

Find a paint drop-off location near you>

(View map and get directions)


The following items are accepted at retail drop-off locations:

  • Latex Paint
  • Oil-Based Paint
  • Varnish, Lacquer, and Shellac
  • Wood Finish

The following items are not accepted at retail drop-off locations:

  • Spray Paint
  • Solvents
  • Arts & Craft Paint
  • Industrial & Marine Paint

Non-accepted and accepted items can be brought to San Francisco’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 501 Tunnel Ave or call (415) 330-1405 to schedule a free home pickup.

What about empty containers?

Household chemical containers which are empty, dry, and 5 gallons or smaller can be safely and legally recycled. 

  • Recycle: Empty cans of aerosol paint and latex paint (acrylic or water-based) may be placed in your blue recycling bin. All nozzles, caps and lids must be removed and placed separately into the blue recycling bin. 
  • Landfill: Put all other types of empty hazardous waste containers into your black bin for disposal - do not try to recycle these containers. 

Even Better Than Recycling: Reduce, Reuse

To avoid the worry of how to store and dispose of household hazardous waste:

  • Buy only what you need.
  • Share unused products or half full containers with your friends or neighbors.
  • Use up the products you purchase.

Our home. Our city. Our planet.