So, you’ve finished painting the spare bedroom room, and not sure what to do with the paint tins, some of which are empty, some of which still contain some paint.
Or you’re a professional decorator, and regularly end up with your van half full of empty tins and tubs, and never know what the best thing to do with them is. Never fear, help is here!
The first question to ask is whether the tins are empty or partially full still.
How to Dispose of Partially Full Paint Tins
If there is still some paint left in the tin, why are you throwing it away? In my role as a Professional Decorator, I tend to use paint from my “stock” (that means the van or the garage!) when it comes to white paints, be it water-based satinwood for woodwork, or emulsion for ceilings and walls.
I always have my favourite white paints “in stock” and keep using them until the tin/tub is empty, then dispose of the empties. Coloured paint, however, is chosen by the customer for that specific job, so half a tin of leftover Sauteed Aubergine (or whatever the colour is) will be of no use to me in the future.
I therefore always leave any leftover coloured paint with the customer, so that they can use it in the future for any touch-ups if they need to. So, in my job, I very rarely have any paint to throw away, only empty tins.
If you’re a homeowner doing your own decorating, you can often apply the same principle; white paint for ceilings or woodwork can be kept for use in the next room you decorate, and leftover coloured emulsion can be kept for touch-ups in the future.
So, the only reasons you would need to throw away partially full tins of paint would be if you’re redecorating a room and no longer need the tin of the old colour, or if the paint has gone off (most likely caused by frost damage).
If you do have partially full tins of paint to dispose of, and it hasn’t gone off, rather than sending it to landfill (where it could be harmful to the environment), consider donating it to Community RePaint, who aim to redistribute leftover paint to individuals, communities and charities who need it. You can find out more about the scheme, and find your nearest collection point, here: https://communityrepaint.org.uk/
Please note that the scheme operates slightly differently for professional decorators vs homeowners.
If you can’t use the paint yourself or there isn’t a Community RePaint collection point anywhere nearby, then please take it to your local household waste recycling centre (what we used to call the tip in the old days), who will be able to dispose of it for you.
How to Get Rid of Empty Paint Tins
This is even easier! Both Crown and Dulux Decorating Centres have can recycling schemes. Dulux only take their own tins and tubs (including Dulux, Armstead, Sikkens and Cuprinol), whereas the Crown “Can Back” scheme takes tins and tubs (and caulk tubes etc too!) regardless of the brand – last year they recycled over 200 tonnes of empties! Simply take your empties to your nearest Crown Decorating Centre while the event is on.
Read more about Crown’s industry-leading Can Back scheme here: https://www.crowndecoratingcentres.co.uk/advice/blogs/canback
Find your nearest Crown Decorating Centre here: https://www.crowndecoratingcentres.co.uk/
I hope you found those tips on how to get rid of paint tins useful. I now feel an overwhelming urge to go and tidy up the garage!
I hope this has helped. Getting rid of paint tins isn’t always easy. You shouldn’t just put them in your wheelie bin and let them go to landfill. A large portion of the microplastics in our oceans come from paint, which means we all need to be responsible.
If you can, recycle the paint and the tins. Even if you end up advertising part full tins on Facebook for free collection.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Paint Tins by Robin Gofton