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Recycling paint and motor oil

From May through August, Public Works hosts swap shops for surplus paint products and drop-offs for used motor oil. We don’t take paint or motor oil from businesses.

You can find information about upcoming events below. The events take place on Saturdays in four Boston neighborhoods and are only open to City residents.

  • We don’t take paint and motor oil from businesses.
  • We won’t take paints, stains, varnishes, and thinners that aren’t in original containers.
  • Containers need to have labels that we can read.
  • The most that you can give us is 20 containers.
  • We don’t take aerosol paint cans.
  • You need to show us proof of your Boston residency.

Upcoming events

Upcoming events

Paint swap shops

We only take paints, stains, varnishes, and thinners that are in original containers and have labels that we can read. We only take 20 containers per resident and will not take aerosol paint cans. We don’t take paint from businesses.

we WILL take:
  • interior and exterior latex and acrylic paint
  • interior and exterior oil-based alkyd paint
  • water-based and oil-based paint tubes
  • solidified oil-based paint, stain, varnish, lacquer, and polyurethane
  • usable thinner or paint remover, and
  • paint stripper, linseed oil, and turpentine.
we WILL NOT take:
  • lead-based paint
  • creosote
  • mixed stains and varnishes
  • wood preservatives or bleach, or
  • mixed paint remover, thinner, or stripper.

Since it’s not hazardous, you can throw out latex and acrylic paint on your regular trash day. You need to make sure that the paint is completely dry inside the container before you throw it out.

Trashing paint cans

You can pop the lid and let the paint air dry, or mix it with kitty litter, sawdust, or a paint hardener. Put the paint cans in a trash bag. Please don’t put more than two cans of paint in a bag.

Motor oil drop-offs

Boston residents can bring used oil from their cars, boats, or other vehicles. We only take motor oil and will not accept: transmission fluid, antifreeze, steering wheel fluid, or empty motor oil cans. We don’t take motor oil from businesses.

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