How To Safely And Responsibly Dispose Of Leftover Paint

How To Safely And Responsibly Dispose Of Leftover Paint

We regularly get asked ‘what should I do with my leftover paint’ and with Earth Day around the corner (April 22nd) we felt it was important to highlight what can be done with your leftovers and how to dispose of it safely and responsibly. 

NOTE: Paint cannot be disposed of in your normal waste and it's not suitable to be washed down your drains. Here are our top tips on how to dispose of your paint:


Storing for touch ups

Consider how much you have left. You will want to keep some for inevitable touch ups but quite often keeping a large tin uses up a lot of space in your cupboards and also as there is a lot of air in the remaining space your paint can harden and become unusable. Our favourite tip is to use old jars to pour out your leftovers and keep them sealed and airtight. Don’t forget to remove the label from your colour match tin and tape it onto your jar in case you ever need to know the details! Once empty you can rinse out your tins and take them to your local recycling centre to dispose. 




More paint left but you’re keen to keep for your next project?

You may have quite a portion of paint left that you’re not ready to part with yet. If so and you have the space to store it then do! Be mindful that water based paint can freeze, thaw and go off in freezing temperatures so be careful if storing in the shed during winter months. Cupboards under the stairs or wrapping your dust sheets around them is always a good call! Before storing away ensure you have wiped clean any paint from the rim to ensure you can get the lid securely on and avoid any additional air getting into the can. A tip for creating a tighter seal on the tin: place a piece of cling film over the opening before replacing the lid.A final tip is to store the tins upside down (make sure the lid is on securely!). This means any skin will form on what becomes the bottom of the paint when you turn the can the right way up to use it again. When you do get your paint out to use again make sure you strain it first (a sieve is a great way to do this!) to remove any hardened flakes or skin that has formed. 




More paint left but you won’t be needing it?

If you have more than half a tin of your water based paint remaining then you can donate this to charity! We regularly donate our surplus/mistake tins to Frade who are a reuse charity that either rehome the paint with someone who needs it or sell it in their charity shops with the funds going to supporting families that need it to help make their houses a home. Another fantastic national charity is Community RePaint who will take your leftover paint and ensure it is responsibly utilised and not wasted!




Alternatively there is that age old saying one man's trash is another man's treasure! List your leftover paint on local online marketplaces and you may make a few pounds and make someone's day with a bargain!


Feeling crafty? Use it up!

Ok so emulsion for your walls isn’t necessarily the best choice of paint for upcycling a chest of drawers for example (for longevity!) but if you’re mindful of this and happy then there is absolutely no reason you can’t use your leftovers up around the house! If you want to protect your projects more you can utlise suitable primers and varnishes which should give them a longer life before chipping. Match your mirror, vases, plant pots to your colour scheme and use up your leftover paint along the way! 




Leftovers that aren’t enough for charity but too much for your touchup jar?

So if you’ve been through the options and still find yourself with leftover paint then let's learn how to dispose of it safely rather than leaving an inevitable stash of half empty and wasted tins in your garage! To dispose of paint properly you need to harden it. The best way to achieve this is by adding sawdust, sand, a paint hardener or even cat litter to your paint and leave the lid off in a well ventilated area. This will harden your paint over a number of days and then you can tip it out into a bin bag for waste disposal before taking your tins to your local recycling centre!


So fingers crossed you’re feeling better equipped now with the best and most responsible ways to dispose of your leftover paint tins!

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