If you’ve ever done some home decorating you’ll know it’s not unusual to keep the open tins of paint stacked up somewhere around the house, just in case you need to do a touch up at some point. But how often do you really get around to using that paint up?
Paint that has been opened and stored properly is usually perfectly usable and if you think you’ve got some at home that you no longer need, consider donating it. Using up paint helps to ensure we get the most from the resources that were used to create and distribute that paint in the first place. It also benefits individuals, families, communities and charities in need. Through the Community Repaint scheme donated paint has helped local groups and charities refresh shared spaces and create colourful murals for the community; enabled people on low income to redecorate their homes at low cost; and provided employment, training and volunteer opportunities building valuable skills and experience.
Where to donate and get paint:
Leftover paint that can be used by someone else can be taken to one of the following north London Reuse and Recycling Centres (RRCs) where it will be checked and then made available for others to use. The leftover paint is usually available for residents to take away for free from these sites too. However, due to the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission, we are currently unable to allow residents to take paint away for reuse.
Barnet - Summers Lane RRC
Camden - Regis Road RRC
Haringey - Western Road RRC
Please note that only water-based paint is accepted at the north London RRCs. We cannot accept solvent-based paints. Solvent-based waste paint is classed as hazardous waste so needs to be handled by a specialist contractor. If you live in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Islington or Waltham Forest, you can contact the City of London on 020 7332 3433 or visit their household hazardous waste webpage to organise a free collection of solvent-based paint from your home.
For information about locations for donating and getting reclaimed paint outside of north London, visit the Community RePaint website.
Old paint and paint thinners: Old paint that is not fit for use and paint thinners must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Disposing of paint and thinners correctly will ensure that dangerous chemicals do not end up polluting the environment. If you live in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Islington or Waltham Forest you can use the Corporation of London’s hazardous waste service, visit their website for the details.
Paint tins: Empty metal paint tins can be taken to a north London RRC where they can be recycled. However, plastic paint cans cannot be recycled because the level of paint residue makes them unsuitable for the process. Plastic paint tins should instead be placed in your general waste bin.
Paint brushes, rollers and rags: Unwanted paint brushes and rollers that are clean and in a reusable state could be given away locally or donated for reuse through online sites such as Freecycle or Gumtree. However, if they are not fit for reuse, please dispose of them in your general waste bin. These items are usually coated in paint and made from a mix of materials, which makes them difficult and costly to separate for recycling. There is currently no recycling option for these items in north London. Rags that are heavily soiled with paint or thinners should be disposed of in the general waste bin.