Nail Polish Illegal in Garbage, Recycling & Drains Hazardous Waste No Nail Polish in the Trash The EPA considers nail polish to be hazardous waste, and it needs to be disposed of as such. So don’t throw it into the regular garbage or a recycling bin, and don’t dump it down the drain. Ways to Reuse Fill With Touch-Up Paint Put household paint into the empty bottle and then use it for small touch-ups around the house. Clean out the old polish first using non-toxic paint thinner. Did You Know? The Origins of Nail Polish Nail polish was invented in China as early as 3000 BC. The colors you wore depended on which class you belonged to. Lower classes painted their nails nude and other pale colors, while the upper classes painted theirs red.