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Recycling paint and motor oil

Recycling paint and motor oil

From May through August, Public Works hosts swap shops for surplus paint products and dropoffs for used motor oil.

The events take place on Saturdays in four Boston neighborhoods and are only open to City residents.

2016 Schedule
July 16: Brighton August 13: East Boston

9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Brighton Public Works Yard

315 Western Avenue

9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
East Boston Public Works Yard

320 East Eagle Street

Paint Swap Shops 

Boston residents can also come and take home paints and stains for free.

Paint material we WILL take includes:

  • interior and exterior latex and acrylic paint
  • water-based paint tubes
  • interior and exterior oil-based alkyd paint
  • oil-based paint tubes
  • solidified oil-based paint, stains, varnishes, lacquers, and polyurethanes
  • usable thinner or paint remover
  • paint stripper
  • linseed oil, and
  • turpentine.

Paint material we WILL NOT take includes:

  • lead-based paint
  • creosote
  • mixed stains and varnishes
  • wood preservatives or bleach, and
  • mixed paint remover, thinner, or stripper.
Can’t make it to a paint swap?

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. 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 Dropoffs

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.

Still have questions? Contact:
Public Works
1 City Hall Square
Room 714
Boston, MA 02201-2024
United States
Need to know
  • 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.