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Can You Recycle Paint Cans?

Can You Recycle Paint Cans?

Blog

Posted 02.07.2020

By Clearabee

Across the country, there are sheds and garages with half-full paint pots piling up. The chances are, the paint is no longer suitable to use anyway - it has a shelf life of around two years. The reason they tend to pile up is that simply throwing your old paint cans away in your household rubbish is not an option. So we’re left with the question: can you recycle your old paint and paint cans?

open used paint cans

Can you throw your old paint away?

Surely, once you’ve finished with your paint, you can just throw it away? In actuality, paint should never be tipped down toilets, sinks or drains, as it can potentially cause blockages, damage or even harm to others. Likewise, paint should not be disposed of in your household bin as it is banned from landfill due to the hazardous chemicals in contains. This leaves you with a couple of options: you can either recycle or reuse your paint. 

Paint cans up close

Can you recycle or reuse paint?

Community recycling websites such as Freecycle are an excellent way to get rid of unwanted items such as paint and it might just save you and your neighbour a trip out. Even Facebook has its benefits when it comes to community and neighbourhood groups, especially if you’re living on a new build site. Your new neighbour’s home most likely has a similar colour scheme to yours and they might be able to make use of your leftover paint. 

When it comes down to reusing, Community RePaint is a fantastic resource for ensuring paint is reused in the community. It is worth noting that some drop-off points are currently closed due to the lockdown restrictions though. Community RePaint claim that enough paint is thrown away in the UK to fill 22 Olympic-sized swimming pools, so they spend their time redistributing the unwanted paint to community groups and those in need and have helped 337,000 people so far.

used paint brushed

In terms of more traditional forms of recycling, most household recycling centres accept dry or empty paint cans, but do check their websites before turning up with paint cans in hand. Plastic paint containers, on the other hand, are not accepted and are not currently recyclable. The most important point to make here is that the cans cannot contain paint in its liquid form.

How to get rid of leftover paint

With regards to leftover paint, some household recycling centres have a donation point specifically for liquid paint, so it can be re-used, rather than thrown away or recycled. Again, this information can usually be found on the website of your local household recycling centre and it’s advisable to check this before making the journey.

However, liquid wastes (and paint in particular) is banned from landfill sites due to the hazardous chemicals it contains, so any paint that you’re looking to get rid of needs to be completely dried out beforehand. Simply leaving the lid off of the can will only serve to form a hard crust on the surface of the paint, and this will not be accepted at landfill sites. 

Instead, you can add sand, soil or sawdust to the paint before leaving the lid off to allow it to solidify. In this solid state, paint can be sent to landfill. However, it’s worth noting that solvent paint should be disposed of as a hazardous material.

old paint cans

Clearabee’s recycling rates

Whilst Clearabee are unable to remove liquid waste such as paint, our rubbish clearance service is the largest in the UK and as such, we are experts at removing almost all other waste streams. With the environment at the forefront of our 5-Star rated operations, we ensure that at least 95% of all the waste we collect is diverted from landfill and reused, recycled or repurposed wherever possible. 

We continue to keep our carbon emissions low through the use of our ultra-light vehicles which, on average, make journeys of less than 15 miles per rubbish removal. This is possible due to our 100 vehicles which operate locally to each area of the UK. 

To further offset our carbon emissions, our reforestation project has seen the planting of over 19,674 trees in our 2 UK forests. As well as flood mitigation, these areas have become wildlife preserves and offset 1,886 tonnes of CO2, so if you’re after rubbish removal whilst also helping to repair the planet, then you can have confidence in Clearabee.

Removing rubbish (and recycling). It’s what we do. 

About Clearabee

Clearabee operates nationwide on-demand rubbish clearance and waste removal services, with over 120 vehicles and 300 directly employed staff. Our core services include our industry-leading rubbish clearance service as well as our skip bag, skip hire and sofa removal services. 

We count some of the UK’s leading brands as exclusive customers including DFS, Sofology, Wren Kitchens, Homeserve and the CO-OP. Clearabee has been ranked as the fastest-growing waste management company in Europe for 3 years running and featured on The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track for the last two years.

removing waste near trees graphic