How can I dispose of my unwanted paint?

Using the environmental principles of reduce, reuse, recycle there are lots of ways you can mitigate environmental impacts.

Reduce the paint you buy Reduce the amount of paint you have left over by calculating exactly how much you need for your decorating. At Dulux we have created a handy paint calculator to do this for you, but if you are in store then you need to look at the back of the paint container and check the coverage per litre that the paint gives you.

Leftover paint will last longer if the tin is sealed tightly. To reseal a can of paint so that it is airtight, wipe the rim of the can clean, replace the lid, place a block of wood over the top and tap it down with a hammer. Then quickly invert the securely lidded can to form an airtight seal which will help prevent skinning.

Store leftover paint upright in a frost free environment, and keep out of sight and reach of children.

If you have any usable surplus paint, offer it to friends, local community groups or you can contact Community RePaint

Community RePaint provides a practical solution to this waste stream that is environmentally and socially beneficial. Unwanted surplus paint is diverted from the waste stream and redistributed for re-use by community groups, charities and voluntary groups. Co-ordinated by the not-for-profit environmental consultancy Resource Futures, Community RePaint schemes collect 'half-tins' of leftover paint from donation points at some Local Authorities’ Household Waste Recycling Centres or Civic Amenity sites.

You may be able to donate paint through your Local Authority Household Waste Recycling Centre or visit where you can enter your postcode and find your nearest Paint Donation Facility.

For responsible disposal of other waste paint call your Local Authority for guidance, as some have special facilities for disposing of paint.

Do not pour paint down drains or watercourses.

Empty paint containers can be recycled. Ask your Local Authority how this should be done as many do not want waste paint containers put into dustbins. If your containers can’t be recycled locally then dispose of them responsibly as general household waste.

What is the best way to environmentally clean brushes and rollers?

Cleaning paints out of brushes and rollers uses substantial amount of water or solvent. If you need to reuse the brush/roller again for the same job then an alternative to washing them is to place them in an airtight plastic bag, applying masking tape around the handle to keep the air out. This will keep the equipment supple over-night.

Washing solvent-based paint from brushes required the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners, which in themselves release VOCs when used, and are more difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. Therefore, choosing water-based paints, where brushes can be washed in soapy water, can further reduce the environmental impact of decorating.

Cleaning water based paint. Then, with water-based paints, wash brushes with clean water or a solution of warm water and detergent.

Cleaning solvent based paint. For solvent-based paints, clean with Polycell Brush Cleaner or a specialist brush cleaner. These are more efficient than white spirit resulting in less solvent emissions. Always use a container only slightly larger than the brush itself as this helps to minimise solvent usage. The container should also have a tightly fitting lid to enable dirty solvents to settle. The clean solvent can then be poured back into the original bottle for re-use and the sediment left to dry before disposal.

Don't pour paint or white spirit down the drain as the chemicals they contain can disperse and contaminate the water supply.

How should I deal with old paint that may contain lead?

If you live in an older property, the wood and metal surfaces may have been decorated in the past with an old type of paint that contained lead. Lead can be hazardous particularly for pregnant women and where young children are present. We provide information on our product labels to make our customers aware of this.

As removing lead paint may prove to be difficult and dangerous, Dulux recommend that you employ the services of a reputable professional decorator to do this. Use a professional Dulux-approved decorator and we will guarantee their work.