No matter which kind of household project you are undertaking, it is likely you will need to dispose of leftover paint and their tins. Tins with paint still in are classified into the hazardous waste group, so you cannot dispose of them as you would normal waste. A staggering 50 million litres of paint gets disposed of every year in the UK, with a household average of six tins of paint. This is a high volume of paint and tins, so places an emphasis on the importance of the need to be treated in and disposed of in a special manner, which will be explained in this paint tin disposal guide. 

large number of old used paint tins

Can you put paint tins in a skip? 

A common question before ordering a skip, is whether paint tins can be disposed of in there. It is always important to check what you can put in a skip beforehand. If ever unsure, contact one of your local skip companies to give you peace of mind before placing an order or make sure that you are not putting any forbidden items in the skip. This is the best practice as lots of materials are classed as hazardous waste and can pose a risk to the environment, humans, and wildlife. This is due to chemicals and other things that the items contain. 

Empty and clean tins can safely be put in a skip, but only if there are no remnants of paint inside. Therefore, it is important to safely dispose of paint before putting the tin in a skip. A guide on how to do so is below. 

Want to dispose of leftover paint?

If you have bought more paint than needed for your project, then first of all, you need to get rid of the leftover paint. It is definitely worth keeping used paint around for a while in case you need to go over any scuffs on walls or fill in spots around the room. Liquid paint is definitely not able to be poured down a sink or toilet, as this can cause blockages and pollute sewers and watercourses. So, if your storage facilities are becoming overwhelmed with half-used paint tins, then it is important to dispose of it responsibly. 

1. Use the paint up

By adding another coat to the wall, it is not only a way to use up leftover paint, but will make your walls look fresher and you will often end up with a stronger colour and the paint job will tend to be more durable. 

2. Sell the paint or gift it

If the paint is still perfectly usable, then another option is selling or donating the leftover paint. By asking friends or family, or posting in your local Facebook group, then you are bound to find somebody who is in need of paint. 

3. Harden the paint up

You will need liquid paint to dry out and harden up before you can throw it away. 

To speed this process up, mixing in substances like powders, sand, sawdust, and keeping the paint exposed to air with the lid off will make it go hard allowing you to throw it away. Paint does contain solvents, so it is important that you keep it in a well-ventilated area if you are carrying out this process. 

4. Dispose of the hardened paint 

If the paint has completely hardened, most local recycling centres will accept it, but ensure to contact them online or give them a call beforehand to check they accept paint. Recycling is a good way to stop the harmful chemicals in paint entering landfill and harming wildlife. 

Only as small as a percentage as 2% of paint is recycled each year. If you’re interested in what happens to paint that has been recycled, it gets turned into new materials such as cement, used for fuel blending (burning to to create new energy at a power plant), or used for alternative daily cover at landfills (used to control factors such as fires, odors, litter blowing away, and people scavenging). 

Paint tin disposal

Paint is classed as a hazardous item, so if you have let the paint harden inside the tins, they will not be recyclable. Instead, you could decant paint into non-recyclable materials, such as the old kinds of paint buckets, and dispose of the recyclable tins. 

Although it is strongly advised not to dispose of paint down a sink or toilet, any small amount of paint that remains in a tin can be rinsed off so the tin is then recyclable.

Ready to dispose of your paint tins?

If you are looking to dispose of paint tins, it is best to follow this guide in order for them to be recycled instead of sending them to landfill or disposing of them in an improper way which will lead to pollution or harm.