How to recycle paint and painting equipment
Using the environmental principles: reduce, reuse, recycle there are lots of ways we can mitigate the environmental impact of disposing of unwanted paint.

Buy the quantity of paint you require
Calculate exactly how much paint you need for your decorating. If you are in store then either check the coverage per litre on the back of each tin or ask for advice.

Looking after your paint so you can reuse it

When opening lids, do so carefully to avoid damaging the can sealing ring
Store leftover paint upright in a frost free environment, and keep out of sight and reach of children
Protect the paint from frost and extreme temperatures as these can damage the paint
Stop your paint from drying out
Ensure the lid is on securely and tightly; tip the container upside down for a few seconds (this will help stop a skin forming on the paint); store the paint containers in an upright position.

Donate leftover paint
If you have any unwanted surplus paint, offer it to friends, local community groups or you can contact Community RePaint. Community Repaint is a network of paint donation schemes and you can find your nearest scheme on their website. Your paint will be used by community and voluntary groups, charities and individuals in social need – for example to decorate a village hall, youth club, scout hut or the scenery for a school play.

Recycle empty paint containers
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.

Disposal of paint
It is very important to dispose of any paint properly. Acrylic paint produced before 1992 may contain mercury, and paint from the 1970s or earlier may contain lead. Be extra cautious with these paints.
Do not pour paint down drains or watercourses.

Further information on recycling can be found at: