Thank you for your question. It is best not to put paint in the regular trash. In 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency banned mercury in newly manufactured paints. If, for some reason, you have some old paint laying around, that could cause some serious environmental problems if your area if people are simply throwing them away.
A good way to dispose of paint is to either use up the remaining portion of it or give it to someone who will. Many communities have recycling centers or Household Hazardous Waste facilities that will take unused paint. If you have unused paint that you no longer need, please check to see if your community offers such options.
I agree with ecoman83 that using paint is the best way to dispose of it. However, there are other methods that deserve consideration. The University of Missouri suggests creating a paint exchange between local community groups (charities, community theatres, etc) and provides resources and recommendations on how to get this started.
You can also use an absorbant, non-flamable material (like a clay based kitty litter) to solidify the paint, making it safer for landfill disposal. Instructions for this process are in the link below.
Proper disposal of paint cans is also important. Make sure to completely dry any paint remnants left over in the can by leaving the lid off until the contents fully harden. These can then be disposed of safely in a landfill. You might also consider leaving the lids off the cans so that your trash collector can see that the cans are empty.
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