Since the program’s inception in 2008, this program has been used by Albertans and businesses alike, with 33.9 million litres of paint and 8.2 million spray paint cans recycled. Recycled paint is processed depending on its substance. A local made-in-Alberta solution means that leftover runny latex paint is processed into new paint, while solid or semi-solid paint is used as feedstock in cement manufacturing. Oil-based products receive new life by being added to fuel blends to create an alternative fuel source.

In 2015, ARMA took this program one step forward and formalized a recycling tracker for metal and plastic paint cans, and since then, over 3,400 tonnes of material have been processed. After being left at a collection site, metal containers are recycled into industrial products like rebar, while plastic containers are recycled into moulded products for future use.


litres of paint have been recycled since 2008

Eligible Products and Fees

The environmental fees Albertans pay when purchasing new paint, ranging from $0.25 to $2.25, support the associated costs of recycling paint. There are many recycling depots (collection sites) in the province where you can take your used paint, spray paint, and empty containers so they can be recycled effectively, securely, and in an environmentally safe manner.

See below for a list of eligible products in Alberta’s Paint Recycling Stewardship Program.

Paint and paint containers

Current Fees:

  • 100ml to 250ml – $0.25
  • 251ml to 1L – $0.50
  • 1.01L to 5L – $1.00
  • 5.01L to 23L – $2.25
Architectural coatings
  • Water-based paint e.g. latex, acrylic
  • Oil and solvent-based (alkyd)
Interior and exterior paint and stains
  • Chalk-based paint (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Craft and artist paints e.g. tempura (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Drywall paint
  • Enamels (standard single component)
  • Epoxies (pre-catalyzed)
  • Ink-based paints (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Metal paints:
    • Decorative
    • Rust preventative coatings
  • Milk-based paints (as of January 1, 2020)
Top coats (single component, waterborne/water-based or solvent-based)
  • Glazes
  • Lacquers:
    • pre-catalyzed and nitrocellulose
    • waterborne
  • Polyurethanes
  • Shellac and shellac-based products
  • Urethanes
  • Varnishes
Primers, sealers and undercoats
  • Stains and finishes:
  • Barn and fence
  • Deck
  • Floor
  • Porch and patio
  • Wood finishing oils and stains
Sealers (non-tar or non-bitumen-based)
  • Concrete sealer
  • Driveway paints or sealers
  • Elastomeric coatings (water-based only)
  • Encapsulant coatings
  • Liquid block filler (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Masonry Sealer
  • Stain blocking paint
  • Undercoat
  • Water repellent sealers
Solvents, thinners and mineral spirits (as of January 1, 2020)

No sub-categories.

Textured paint
  • Stone effects coatings
  • Stucco paint
  • Swimming pool coating (single component)
  • Textured paint
  • Truck bed coating
  • Deck cleaners (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Dry fog coating (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Fire-retardent/resitive coating e.g. Pink Shield
  • Marine paint and enamel (non anti-fouling)
  • Scenic, movie set paint
  • Strippers for paint, coatings and wallpaper removal (as of January 1, 2020)
  • Traffic marking paint
  • Tree marking paint
  • Wood preservatives (non-creosote) (as of January 1, 2020)
Aerosol paint cans

Current Fees:

  • Aerosol paint (spray paint), all sizes – $0.25
  • Aerosols/Spray Paints:
    • Paint-based aerosols
    • Blank aerosol cans
Ineligible products
  • All paints less than 100 ml or greater than 23 L in size
  • Acid stains
  • Automotive paints (non-aerosol)
  • Battery terminal protectors and battery cleaners
  • Brushes, rags and rollers
  • Corrosive products
  • Industrial coatings
    • Heat reactive coatings
    • High-temperature coatings
    • Impacted-immersion coatings
    • Thermoplastic rubber, mastic or bituminous coatings
    • Nuclear coatings
    • Quick-dry coatings (primers, enamels)
    • Two-part or multi-component coatings requiring catalyzing reaction
    • Please see the industrial paint definition.
  • Rubber coatings
    • Thermoplastic rubber
    • Liquid rubber sealant
  • Tar-based and bituminous coatings
    • Roof patch tars and greases
  • Tints and colourants

The following products may not be accepted for recycling:

  • Bulging or leaking paint cans
  • Unidentifiable paint or containers
  • Paint not stored in original containers

Call your municipal collection site to see if these products will be accepted as hazardous waste.

More Detailed Information

For more detailed information please see the current Products, Definitions, and Fees.


Prior to 2008, Albertans took their paint to a household hazardous waste roundup for disposal. However, latex paint can be remade into new paint and oil-based paint can be used as a fuel source in the energy recovery process. Since April 1, 2008, homeowners and painting contractors alike have flocked to Alberta’s paint recycling program because they want their leftover paint and paint containers safely recycled instead of incinerated.

What is recycled?

Latex and oil-based paint, varnishes and stains as well the containers they’re packaged in—metal and aerosol cans and plastic pails. Click here to see the complete list.

How is paint processed?

Alberta’s registered Paint Processors pick up the paint from municipal collection sites and businesses across the province and take it to their facilities where it is separated and packaged for shipment. Processing of paint and paint containers is handled by downstream processors approved by Alberta Recycling.

What does it become?

Latex paint is recycled into usable paint, the majority of it processed and then sold right here in Alberta for environmentally conscious purchasers. Oil based paint is most often used in fuel blends to provide alternative fuel sources. Aerosol containers, paint cans and plastic pails are recycled as metals and plastics.

How is paint recycling going in Alberta?

Albertans are doing a great job at it. To date, 33.9 million litres of paint recycled since the Program started in 2008.

Why is it important for Albertans to recycle this material?

First and foremost, certain paints contain chemicals that pose a threat to the environment. And secondly, leftover paint can be turned into new paint and the metal and plastics containers are recycled into new products.

How are the paint and the cans recycled?

The paint is sorted into latex and oil. Latex paint is recycled into usable paint, the majority of it processed and then sold right here in Alberta for environmentally conscious purchasers. Oil-based paint is most often used in fuel blends to provide alternative fuel sources. Aerosol containers, paint cans and plastic pails are recycled as metals and plastics.

Can paint cans be recycled even if the paint itself is dried up or the can is empty?

Yes, the metal and plastic cans, including spray paint cans, can be recycled as well so make sure not to throw them in the garbage but take them to your nearest paint recycling depot.

Where can I get more information about buying recycled paint?

Check with Renue Recycling in Calgary for a list of distributors of ecocoat paint.

Environmental Fee Info

The environmental fees Albertans pay when purchasing new paint products and containers help fund the cost of recycling them.

Albertans are some of the most dedicated recyclers in the world. Since 2008, Albertans’ have recycled 33.9 million litres of paint. Leftover latex paint is recycled into usable latex, and oil-based paint is used as a fuel source in the energy recovery process. The metal containers are recycled into industrial products such as rebar and the plastic paint ‘buckets’ are shredded and manufactured into new plastic products.