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Unwanted paint can clutter up your basement, garage, or crawl space. If this is your household, you’re not alone – it is estimated that more than 1 million gallons of leftover paint are stored in homes and businesses across Colorado.

In an environmentally-friendly county such as Chaffee County, doing the right thing with our discarded items has become a badge of our commitment to preserving this beautiful place.

Thankfully, Chaffee County has two drop-off sites where you can recycle this unwanted waste easily and responsibly. Sherwin-Williams and Ace Hardware have joined forces with PaintCare, the nonprofit organization that oversees the paint stewardship program in Colorado, to provide a solution this community needs.

Drop off leftover paint at these Chaffee County PaintCare sites, but make sure you review the list of items that are accepted before you head out:

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

101 US 50 A
Salida, CO 81201

Buena Vista Ace Hardware
29785 US Hwy 24 N
Buena Vista, CO 81211

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about paint recycling: 
What types of products can be recycled at PaintCare drop-off sites? 
PaintCare drop-off sites accept latex and oil-based house paint, stains, and varnish in containers up to five gallons in size. The sites do not accept aerosols (spray paint or other spray products), containers without original labels, or containers that are leaking or empty. To better understand what products the sites will and will not accept check out the table below.

To dispose of non-PaintCare products, call your local household hazardous waste (HHW) program, landfill or Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) and Environment. Chaffee County Landfill information is available by calling 719-539-3738. CDPHE customer technical assistance is available by calling 303-692-3320.

PaintCare Products Accepted at Drop-Off Sites

  • Interior and exterior architectural paints: latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based, enamel (including textured coatings)
  • Deck coatings, floor paints (including elastomeric)
  • Primers, sealers, undercoaters
  • Stains
  • Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes (single component)
  • Waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellents (not tar or bitumen-based)
  • Metal coatings, rust preventatives
  • Field and lawn paints

Products NOT Accepted at PaintCare Drop-Off-Sites

  • Paint thinners, mineral spirits, solvents
  • Aerosol paints (spray cans)
  • Auto and marine paints
  • Art and craft paints
  • Caulking compounds, epoxies, glues, adhesives
  • Paint additives, colorants, tints, resins
  • Wood preservatives (containing pesticides)
  • Roof patch and repair
  • Asphalt, tar, and bitumen-based products
  • Two-component coatings
  • Deck cleaners
  • Traffic and road marking paints
  • Industrial Maintenance (IM) coatings
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) (shop application) paints and finishes

How do I recycle paint?
To use any PaintCare drop-off site, prepare your unwanted paint, stains, and other accepted PaintCare products by ensuring lids are secured tightly, no containers are leaking, and paint is in its original container with the original manufacturer label. Do not mix paints together or drop off empty paint cans.

Pack paint cans in a sturdy cardboard box in your vehicle and take them to a PaintCare drop-off site. Call sites in advance to confirm their hours and availability. Ask store staff for assistance before dropping off paint at a drop-off site.

Do all paint retailers take back paint?
No. Retailers serve as PaintCare drop-off sites voluntarily. Not all paint and hardware stores have enough storage space or staff to be drop-off sites. If you know of a store near you that would like to be a PaintCare drop-off site, ask the store manager to contact PaintCare.

How much paint can I drop off?
PaintCare sites have limits on how much paint they can accept, but they all take at least five gallons of paint per visit; some sites take more. Call the site in advance to confirm hours and whether they can accept the types and amounts of paint you plan to drop off.

Is there a cost to drop off paint for recycling?
There is no cost to residents and businesses when dropping off their unwanted paint for recycling. A small fee on the sale of new paint—called the PaintCare fee—funds all aspects of the program including paint collection, transportation, processing, and public education. The fee on new paint that is larger than half a pint up to smaller than one gallon is $0.35. For one gallon up to two gallons, the fee is $0.75, and for larger than two gallons up to five gallons the fee is $1.60. Businesses, organizations, and households with 100 gallons of paint or more to recycle may request a free pickup at their location. Some restrictions apply. More information and a request form can be found on PaintCare’s website.

Why should I recycle my leftover paint?
Recycling paint is just one way we can better take care of our environment. PaintCare helps ensure the “highest, best use” for paint collected in the program, including giving away good quality material as-is, recycling it, or putting it to another beneficial use. Most of the paint PaintCare receives is latex-based and can be remixed into recycled content paint by processors. To date, PaintCare has processed more than 50 million gallons of paint nationally and saved state and local governments millions of dollars. If it can’t be recycled or used some other way, it will be dried out and properly disposed.

The next time you think about storing or throwing away unused, unwanted paint, think again … and recycle it with PaintCare at one of your local drop-off sites. For more information about PaintCare, visit

By Kevin Lynch, PaintCare Colorado Program Manager