Paint disposal

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about paint and how you can dispose of it carefully.

Why is paint a household hazardous waste?

Paint contains solvents and metals that are poisonous to humans and the environment. When paint is disposed of improperly - in the garbage, down a drain or on the ground - these chemicals can contaminate lakes, rivers and the underground water system. For this reason, paint cannot be put into the garbage bin.

What can I do with leftover paint?

Use it up!  If you can't use your leftover paint, give it to someone who can.

Give your paint to:

  • friends and neighbours
  • community service organisations
  • theatre groups
  • pony clubs
  • schools and day care centres, etc.

How can I tell if my paint is still good?

Paint stays in good condition for a long time: oil-based paint lasts for up to 15 years and latex paint lasts for up to 10 years. As a general rule, paint that is labelled, fills at least one-third of its container, hasn't been frozen and thawed repeatedly and mixes when stirred, can still be used.

If your latex paint has been frozen, brush a small amount on a sheet of newspaper. If there are no lumps, it hasn't been damaged and can be used.

What if I can't find a way to use my paint?

You can take your leftover paint (maximum 20L) free of charge to the Surf Beach Community Recycling Centre at Surf Beach Waste Management Facility year-round or to the household chemical cleanout collection, which is held annually in the Eurobodalla.

Empty paint tins can be taken to any of Council's waste management facilities, free of charge.

How can I avoid future paint disposal problems?

To be a careful consumer, you can:

  • buy only the amount of paint you need. Measure the space you need to paint and ask the hardware or paint store personnel to help you buy the right amount
  • use up leftover paint before you buy more
  • avoid purchasing exotic colours that you will not be able to use for another project
  • apply another coat to use up leftover paint
  • store cans of leftover paint with the lid side down to prolong its shelf life. Be sure the lid is tightly closed. The paint will seal the can to prevent hardening or moisture damage. Store cans in a dry area where the paint won't freeze.

More information

If you have any questions about hazardous waste, please contact: