How to dispose of paint UK


Getting rid of unwanted paint in the UK can pose challenges for businesses and the general public alike. In this post we aim to provide help and advice, plus a few tips on how best to do this safely and legally. If you were intending to hire a skip and some of the waste you need to dispose of is paint, then you need to be aware that is it prohibited to place water based or oil-based paint or varnish into a skip as this classed as hazardous waste due to the fact that paint contains volatile organic compounds (VOC) which is a land contaminant and a factor in ozone depletion. This includes empty cans as they will have a small but residual quantity of paint in them.

How to dispose of paint in the UK?

When you need to get rid of the actual paint, most waste recycling centres will accept this if you are able to transport it there yourself, so give them a call and double check before you go. Alternatively, many charities and community groups will take the paint away and sell this to people who cannot afford to buy new paint or only need a small quantity.  Of course, you can always offer spare paint to family and friends who could find good use for it. It’s also worth remembering that paint is not cheap so why not keep hold of it for future use? As long as you fully seal the paint lid it will keep for a good couple of years and the best way to seal it is to shake the can after replacing the lid firmly so that some of the paint will coat the space between the can and the lid.

When you want to use the paint and will need more of the same colour, then mix all new and old paint together so that you get an even colour as different paint batch numbers can have an effect of the shade. Keep used paint in a frost-free place for maximum shelf life. If a skin has formed on the top of the old paint when you want to use it, just cut around the edge with a sharp knife and then remix it. Please remember that if you are intending to hire a skip to dispose of waste including paint, you cannot place any type of paint in it. The reason for this is that paint can be very high in volatile organic compounds, (VOCs) and therefore classed as hazardous and damaging to the environment. Another reason is that wet paint will contaminate other items being recycled and can also damage machinery at the recycling centre such as conveyor belts and electrical components.

When you buy paint or varnish there will be a label on the can advising of the VOC measure from low to very high. This is why there are now many more choices available with regards to water-based paints, which have a much lower VOC rating. Another benefit of water-based paint is that is much easier to clean brushes and rollers etc. afterwards and you won’t need to buy solvent-based brush cleaner, just use soap and water. If you really want got rid of excess paint our best advice is to add sand to the part full cans and mix it in. Leave the lids off the cans and let it harden and then dispose of these at your local recycling centre who are able to process it without further harm to the environment. You cannot hide paint under other items in a skip for example and hope that this will be ok. It is illegal and you could be fined. In addition, skip truck drivers will look out for paint and other prohibited items and will refuse to remove a skip until such items have been removed. If you are in any doubt, please call us at DoHire and we will be happy to help further.

To find out more about skip hire and to get an instant price, why not visit our skip home page to get an instant quote on a range of skip sizes – 2 yard, 4 yard, 6 yard, 8 yard along with other sizes available. We offer a friendly and convenient nationwide service.

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