How to safely dispose of paint in the UK | The Sun

How to safely dispose of paint in the UK | The Sun

June 29, 2022

WHETHER you're updating your walls with a fresh colour or revamping an old piece of furniture, it's hard to calculate how much paint you'll actually need.

And any leftover paint cannot be disposed of in your normal bin and it definitely should not be washed down the drain. Here's a guide on how to dispose of your paint properly.

How to dispose of paint?

Oil-Base Paint

Oil- and alkyd-base paints are considered hazardous waste so it is important to dispose of the waste in the correct way.

so rather than throw oil- or alkyd-base paints in the regular garbage, call your local waste authority to find out how to dispose of oil-based paints.

In most cases, you will be able to take the paint to a local hazardous waste site to dispose of it.

If you live in England or Wales, you can enter your postcode on the GOV.UK website to find your nearest waste disposal service to you. 

Latex Paint

Most waste collection companies only request that latex paint is solidified to be thrown into the garbage and taken to the landfill.

If there is a small amount left in the can, simply open the lid and let it air dry.

Alternatively, you can pour any of the remaining paint onto a newspaper-covered surface and let it dry.

Once dried, throw the newspaper with the pain into the garbage.

If you have a larger quantity of paint to dry, you could add cat litter or shredded newspaper to the paint, stir, and leave to dry inside the can.

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You can then throw the can and its dried contents into the garage for the regular gargbage pickup.

A paint hardener is also another option.

When does paint expire?

The time it takes for paint to expire depends on the type of paint you have.

Latex paint takes anywhere between two to ten years to go bad.

Since it’s mostly made up of water, latex paint contains fewer toxins than oil-based paint, but it’s much more susceptible to freezing.

If the paint has expired you will likely experience small lumps which can be gently stirred out with a paint stick, but if the problem is severe, you won’t be able to achieve an even coat of paint.

Oil-based acrylic paint can last anywhere from two to fifteen years.

As it is more likely to contain volatile organic compounds, this type of paint is much more likely to separate when it spends a long time on the shelf.

It's important to make sure the can is properly resealed once open as oil-based paint, when left partially opened, dries out quickly and releases toxic fumes that could cause a fire.

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Is it illegal to throw paint in the bin?

Yes, it is illegal to improperly dispose of paint.

Like many other liquid wastes, you can't just pour paint away, or chuck it in your general waste bin.

Liquid paint is banned from landfills, and your local council won't accept it.

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Therefore, recycling is a great alternative, and some ideas include:

  • Get or give leftover paint to your friends, family or neighbours.
  • Look into a local charity organisation where your paint will go to a family in social need.
  • Check out websites like Freecycle that put you in touch with someone who is in your local area that need paint.

It's important to remember that paint can have a serious effect on the environment and contaminate bodies of water if poured down a drain.

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