Have you ever wondered what to do with unwanted paint tins in the garage? Disposal of paint tins can be difficult due to hazardous waste – i.e. the paint itself.

When paint tins still have wet paint in them, they cannot be disposed of. First, let the paint tin dry out completely, or tip the excess paint onto an absorbent material. For most households this is the kitty litter tray or old newspapers.

Once on an absorbent material, the paint can be thrown away in the general waste bin. This can be a hassle, especially when there is a fair amount of paint to dispose of.

Hazardous waste needs to be dealt with sustainably and safely, with packaging products taken into consideration too in the disposing process.

How To Dispose Of Old Paint Tins

Why is paint tin disposal an issue, can’t it just go in the bin?

Paint contains chemicals that can poison our water and endanger human health. Because of the chemicals contained in paint, pouring paint down the sink or into drains causes much harm to our environment and is a serious health risks to humans and animals.

The Government has recognised this and have made dumping paint into the environment illegal under Environmental and Criminal Laws.

Landfill can also pose issues. This is an issue with mostly full cans of paint in landfill as the contents will eventually leech into the water table and contaminate it. This is the same reason that sump oil containers cannot be put in the bin.

The New South Wales government offers Household Chemical CleanOut events across the state. These events are for free, and are scheduled at specific times. They advise that empty paint tins, or paint tins with completely dry paint inside can be disposed of in the general garbage collection. Some councils prefer unwanted paint tins to be disposed of in the recycling.

For more information, contact your local council to confirm their paint tin disposal services.

Cleaning Out Your Paint Tins For Recycling

Sustainably cleaning out paint tins for recycling is a tedious task, but an important one.

Always make sure you do not put wet paint down the drain, in the sink, on the ground, or into the rubbish because it can cause contamination for water, soil, and air – having detrimental consequences to humans and nature.

Make sure the paint is soaked up and dried out in a porous substance (like newspaper or kitty litter) before disposing of it, to avoid contamination.

Cleaning out your paint tins for recycling can be a really big task. Especially after a large DIY project, you will have a lot of empty paint tins on your hands!

When cleaning out your paint tins, you need to pay attention to the type of paint you are dealing with. Whether it is latex-based or oil-based will make a difference to your procedures.

Latex-based paint tins can be dried out by direct sunlight, preferably in an area with good ventilation. This method is preferred, as nature does it for you and you can save other resources for their own disposal (e.g. newspapers in recycling rather than garbage bins with dried paint soaked in).

Oil-based paint is more hazardous than latex-based paint. and must be treated with extra care and caution. If the paint is being dried outside, it needs to be kept away from kids, pets, and bad weather.

If drying outside is not a viable option, you can always use drying techniques such as kitty litter, concrete mix, or sawdust to dry the paint out sustainably. This is more effort but necessary for safe disposal if the weather or circumstances do not permit sun drying.

What to do with your empty paint tins and waste paint

If you need to use empty paint tins, or get them empty in the first place, here are some easy ideas to try:

DIY Crafts

Crafting is a great way to use leftover paint and the paint tins. Create an artwork with the leftover paint, and then sustainably wash and repurpose the tin.

You could even paint the tin itself to make a storage container for small goods like clothes hanging pegs, or succulents (as long as they are potted after the paint has dried!)

Contact Council

If you are struggling to dispose of your paint and paint tins, contacting your local council is always an option.

Being familiar with their hazardous waste disposal practices can help you make informed decisions for your possessions.

Industry Recycling

Some manufacturers offer a drop off collection, where they accept used paint tins for a paintback recycle scheme.

This form of industry recycling can sometimes apply to the actual paints themselves too in the tin if there is any leftover.

Find more information online in your area, or contact a local hardware/DIY store to inquire about their policies.

Local Donations

A friend or neighbour might need paint, and yours could be the perfect match for them! Advertise your leftover paint on local community sites.

You never know your luck, the tins might be off your hands faster than you think.

Paint tin disposal made easy

Loading your old paint tins and oil containers into your clean car and heading out to your nearest disposal location can be a hassle.

Thankfully, 1300 Rubbish can dispose of paint tins for you. At a small charge per litre, 1300 Rubbish is a convenient and sustainable service option for ensuring the paint waste is taken care of safely.