Frequently Asked Questions about Paint Collection Events

What items will be accepted at the collection event?

Up to 20 containers (pints, quarts and gallons including limited quantities of 5-gallon buckets) of household-generated paint in its original, labeled containers will be accepted.  Most latex paint, oil-based paint, stains and varnishes are accepted.  Items not accepted include aluminum paints, automotive paints, craft paints, epoxy paints, lacquers, industrial paints and textured paints.

How should I load my vehicle for the collection?

In order to expedite unloading, please pack your items loosely in your vehicle without packaging, boxes or containers. We ask that your items be placed in the trunk or bed of your vehicle if possible to comply with social distancing measures. Please stay in your vehicle and allow our staff and/or community service volunteers to unload all items from your vehicle.

Will someone help me unload my vehicle?

Yes, we ask that you stay in your vehicle and allow our staff and/or community service volunteers to unload all items from your vehicle.

Will the event be altered in the event of inclement weather?

The threat or presence of inclement weather, such as persistent rain, lightning or high winds, may cause the event to be delayed, temporarily suspended or cancelled. Weather forecasts are closely monitored when scheduled events are near and if there is a high likelihood that unfavorable conditions will be occurring during the scheduled collection time efforts will be made to contact you of any changes or cancellations. Please also check for updates on local media or Macon County Environmental Management’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, which can both be accessed on

Can I change or cancel my appointment time?

Appointments may be revised or cancelled by emailing or by calling 217-425-4505 during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

Is proof of reservation required for admittance?

The event greeter will ask for your name and appointment time.

Why is some paint not accepted?

Illinois regulations, our agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and best management practices, only allow us to collect household-generated, consumer paint that is in its original, labeled container.

Why are empty cans or cans with dried paint not accepted?

Empty paint cans and cans with dried paint may be placed in your household trash.  Please remove the lids so that your hauler can see that no liquid paint is in the can.

What happens to all of the paint that is collected?

Paints are separated into latex and oil-based categories and then bulked into 55 gallon drums.  Then, the IEPA’s contracted special waste hauler transports the drums to an out-of-state incinerator for final disposal.

What are other options for managing unwanted paint besides collection events?

Buying only enough paint to complete a project is the most effective way to avoid leftover paint.  If paint is leftover, adding another coat may use up all of the product on hand.  Macon County Environmental Management encourages residents to think of disposal, such as the paint collection program, as a last resort.  To dispose of latex paint at home, mix it with an absorbent material such as kitty litter and then place it in the household trash.

Why is paint not to be put in the trash?

Although latex paint is not hazardous, it is recommended that paint not be placed in a landfill because it is a liquid.  Liquid that comes into contact with waste becomes leachate, which is not only costly to treat but has the potential of causing pollution.

How is your paint program funded?

Macon County Environmental Management funds the collection program and the costs of bulking the paint into drums.  The IEPA funds the transportation and disposal costs.