How to safely dispose of paint

There are many things you can safely place in a skip, but paint and paint cans are not included. Paint is actually banned from all landfill sites as well as skips. Councils won’t collect paint or cans either. It’s tempting to pour it down the sink but that’s unacceptable too. It is highly damaging to the environment, as well as blocking up your pipes. So, what do you do with all that leftover paint after your redecorating?

A skip is the ideal place for all your other waste from redecorating projects, such as concrete and hardcore, card, wood and MDF, metals, plastics and broken up furniture. For more information about skip sizes and what can’t be put in a skip, contact Swansea Skip Hire at

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Unopened paint cans

This is an easy one – simply return it to the place you purchased it for your money back or an exchange. You can only do this if the can is in the same condition as when you bought it and you have the receipt.

A small amount of paint left over

If you only have a small amount of paint, now’s the time to get creative. It’s only paint in its liquid form that’s banned from being placed in skips. Take some cardboard, paint it and let it dry. When the paint is completely dry, you can dispose of the cardboard with your other household waste.

A lot of paint

Ask around your friends and family to see if they could make use of the excess paint you have left over. You unload your cans and they get free paint – win-win. If you can’t find anyone who needs it, try placing a free ad on a site like Freecycle or Freegle and offer your paint to anyone who could use it.

You could also contact an organisation like Community RePaint that have a nationwide network of over 75 schemes who need surplus, free paint for those in social need or for community re-painting projects. The paint could then be used for something meaningful like a playground mural in an inner-city neighbourhood or to redecorate a community centre.

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Unusable paint

Old paint (longer than 2 years) is going to be unusable if it has been opened. Don’t even try to give it away – it will be worthless. Leave the lid off and allow it to dry out completely. Then you can take it to your local household recycling plant. Make it dry quicker by adding a little sand or soil.

Note that only metal cans are accepted for recycling at recycling centres, with some being much less keen to take on plastic paint containers. If they won’t take plastic cans, ask them to advise you on what you can do with them.


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