How to Dispose of Paint Tins?

How to Dispose of Paint Tins?

So, you have finished painting the garden shed or the walls in the spare room that needed a touch up. What are you going to do with the leftover paint and old paint cans? What are the best ways to dispose of paint?

Your normal household waste collection wont accept liquid paint, and they cannot be put in a hired skip. Liquid paint is seen as hazardous waste, therefore must be disposed of in a proper manner. Do not just pour paint down the drain, dispose of paint in the correct way.

No time to stress or imitate The Scream. We have complied a few options that could help you dispose of your unused paint and old paint cans.

What to do with Small Amounts of Paint?

If you only have a small quantity of paint, paint disposal can be quite simple. To reiterate do not pour paint down the drain. Instead brush the remaining paint on a bit of cardboard or paper, let it dry and then dispose of them in your normal black bin. If the paint tins are filled by more than a few millimetres they will need proper disposal, and as mentioned paint is a hazardous waste.

Make sure you are Finished with the Paint

Before you dispose of the old paint make sure you no longer need it. Double check the work you have done, you don’t want to hear those awful words “you missed a bit”. It might also worth be keeping a bit of the leftover paint for touch ups around the house. It would be a much cheaper option to pour some paint into a smaller container (label it with the room it was used in), make sure the lid is on tight and then store the old paint in a dry place like a garage or shed. 

If it is high quality paint you should be able to keep it for a while. Doing this will save you money and time, you never know when ceilings and walls may need a little lick of paint.

Donate/ Give away the Paint

If the paint is still usable, then let others reuse it. Take the leftover paint to a local community centre (check out the community repaint programme) and see if they could use it. See if a local school may use the old paint in their art classes. Just because you no longer need the paint there may be someone nearby who could. See if there are any local paint donation schemes in your area.

Check and see if any family or friends are looking to decorate their house. People are doing home make overs all the time. A quick call or WhatsApp and you could be saving a loved one a trip to B&Q. You could list the leftover paint on a selling site for £0. This could be eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Gumtree. Local people will come and collect the paint and put it to good use. Always think can someone reuse this paint before disposing it. 

Take the Paint Tins to a Recycling Centre

If the paint is unusable it will need to be taken to a recycling centre to be disposed of. The paint will need to be left to dry out (just take the lid off the tin) and harden before it is recycled. We would advise calling your local recycling centre to see if they take filled paint cans.

When you arrive make sure you let them know there is old paint left in the cans, so they can be disposed of in the correct way. Recycle paint whenever the paint is unusable, it is the best option for paint tin disposal.

Hire a Hazardous Waste Collection Service

A very convenient option is to hire a company to collect the waste paint tins and dispose of them for you. This will cost more than the other options but will reduce the worry and will mean the waste is disposed of in the correct way.

Just Hire have partnered with a Hazardous Waste Collection Service who cover the entire UK!  

Book Paint Collection


 How to dispose of Empty Paint Tins?

Empty tins still cannot be collected by your normal bin collection. Empty paint tins will need to be taken to your local recycling facility. Your local centre can be found here. When you arrive specify that the paint tins do not have paint in them. Recycling centres will make sure the tins are disposed of in the correct way, which is better for the environment as they will not end up at landfill sites.

Can Paint Tins be Put in a Skip?

Empty paint tins can be put in a skip; however, this is only relevant for those who may be re-decorating their house and have lots of waste to get rid of at the same time. Hiring a skip just for a few empty tins may not be the most cost-effective way for this waste disposal.

What about Plastic Paint Cans?

Plastic paint containers cannot currently be recycled. However your local household waste recycling centre will be able to dispose of them. Any paint left in plastic containers will need to be left to dry, just leave the lid off.


So you now have some options for your paint disposal. Remember paint is seen as hazardous waste and it cannot be treated like household waste and just put in the bin.

Your options for disposing your leftover paint are:

  • Save some - Keeping smaller amounts of unused paint will enable you to touch up any rooms in your house that may need doing in the future.

  • Small bit of paint - Easy paint disposal, brush on paper or cardboard, let it dry and then bin it.

  • Reuse it - Give your unwanted paint to those who need it.

  • Recycle paint - Take the old paint to the local recycling centre.

  • Paint tin disposal - Get rid of clean paint tins by taking them to a recycling centre or put them in a skip. They cannot be put in your normal black bin.

Just make sure you safely dispose of paint and paint tins! Always think of the environment and see if the unused paint can be reused first. If you have to get rid of it recycle!

Author: James Duncan

Date: 7/11/2022

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