How to dispose of Paint in San Francisco

Painting projects can breathe new life into your home or workspace, but what do you do with leftover or unused paint? Properly disposing of paint is crucial to protect the environment and ensure the safety of your community. San Francisco is known for its commitment to sustainability, so it’s important to follow the city’s guidelines for paint disposal. In this blog, we’ll walk you through where and how to dispose of paint in San Francisco.

San Francisco Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility

The San Francisco Household Hazardous Waste Facility is the primary destination for disposing of paint and other hazardous materials. Located at 501 Tunnel Avenue, this facility accepts a wide range of household hazardous waste, including paint, solvents, and cleaning products. It’s important to note that latex and oil-based paints should be separated for disposal.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Appointments: You’ll need to schedule an appointment for dropping off paint at the HHW Facility. Appointments can be made online or by calling 415-330-1405.
  • Accepted Paint: Both latex and oil-based paints are accepted. However, latex paint should be in liquid form, not solidified or dried out.
  • Limits: There are quantity limits for paint disposal, so be sure to check the current limits when scheduling your appointment.

PaintCare Program

San Francisco participates in the PaintCare program, which aims to make it more convenient for residents to recycle unused paint. Participating paint retailers and hardware stores, such as Sherwin-Williams, Kelly-Moore Paints, and Dunn-Edwards, serve as drop-off locations for unused paint. You can find the nearest drop-off location on the PaintCare website.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Condition: Paint dropped off through the PaintCare program should be in its original container and not mixed with other materials.
  • Fees: While there may be fees associated with this program, they are often quite reasonable and help fund the recycling efforts.

Place where you can drop off up to 5 gallons of paint per resident at the following sites.

  • Center Hardware, 999 Mariposa @ Pennsylvania: 415.861.1800
  • Cliff’s Variety, 479 Castro St. @ 18th: 415.431.5365
  • Cole Hardware, 3312 Mission @ 29th St: 415.647.8700
  • Cole Hardware, 2254 Polk @ Green: 415.674.8913
  • Cole Hardware, 956 Cole St. @ Parnassus: 415.753.2653
  • Cole Hardware, 70 4th St. @ Mission: 415.777.4400
  • Fredericksen Hardware, 3029 Fillmore @ Union: 415.292.2950
  • Golden City Building Supply, 1279 Pacific @ Leavenworth: 415.441.0941
  • Roberts Hardware, 1629 Haight @ Clayton: 415.431.3392
  • Last’s Paint Clearance Center, 2141 Mission @ Sycamore: 415.437.0633
  • All Sherwin-Williams, Kelly-Moore Paints, and Dunn-Edwards locations.

Other ways to dispose of paint in San Francisco when moving

  1. Local Recycling Programs: Some local recycling programs may accept latex paint for recycling if it meets specific criteria. Contact your local recycling center or check their website to see if they have any paint recycling options.
  2. Community Reuse Centers: Non-profit organizations and community reuse centers in San Francisco may accept usable leftover paint. These centers often repackage and distribute paint to those in need or use it for community projects. Check with organizations like SCRAP (Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Art Parts) to see if they accept paint donations.
  3. Hazardous Waste Collection Events: Occasionally, San Francisco hosts hazardous waste collection events where you can drop off hazardous materials, including paint, for proper disposal or recycling. Keep an eye on the San Francisco Department of the Environment’s website or local news for information about upcoming collection events.
  4. Donate to Schools or Nonprofits: Some schools, community centers, and nonprofits in San Francisco may accept donations of unused paint for educational or community improvement projects. Reach out to local organizations to see if they have any use for your paint.
  5. Solidify and Dispose in Regular Trash: If you have small amounts of latex paint that can’t be recycled, you can solidify it before disposing of it in your regular trash. To do this, mix in an absorbent material like cat litter or sawdust until the paint thickens and dries. Once it’s solidified, you can dispose of it in your household trash. Note that oil-based paint should never be disposed of in this manner, as it may still contain hazardous materials. Buy paint hardener here.

Remember that it’s essential to check with local facilities and programs for the most up-to-date information on their paint disposal policies and any associated fees or restrictions. Additionally, always follow safety guidelines when handling and disposing of paint to protect yourself and the environment.


Properly disposing of paint in San Francisco is essential for maintaining a clean and sustainable environment. Whether you have leftover latex or oil-based paint, there are several convenient options available to ensure responsible disposal. The San Francisco Household Hazardous Waste Facility, the PaintCare program, and the Paint Recycling Program all provide safe and eco-friendly methods for getting rid of unwanted paint. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only declutter your space but also contribute to the city’s commitment to environmental preservation. So, the next time you’re thinking about disposing of paint in San Francisco, make sure to do it the right way!

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October 4, 2023


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