Recycling unwanted paint

Residents can drop off their unwanted paint at the Geelong and Drysdale Resource Recovery Centres for recycling through the Paintback program.

Paintback is a world-first program that saves paint from going to landfill, instead collecting and reusing the paint in the manufacturing sector.

To fund the collection and treatment of the waste paint and packaging, buyers pay a 16.5 cents/ litre levy on eligible paint sold in containers over one litre and up to 20 litres.

Paints eligible for recycling through Paintback include:

  • water and oil-based paints (interior and exterior)
  • deck coatings
  • floor paints
  • primers and undercoats
  • shellacs and stains
  • undercoats
  • sealers (including urethane)
  • varnishes
  • wood coatings (containing no pesticides) and
  • empty paint tins.

Some paint products such as aerosol paints, automotive paints and paint thinners cannot be recycled through Paintback.

Visit Paintback for a full list of painting products that are not accepted.

Residents can drop off up to 100 litres per vehicle per visit at both Drysdale and Geelong.

For ease of handling, paint must be secured in containers of 20 litres or less. Paint tins containing dried paint are also accepted.

Once collected, the waste paint is transported to specialist facilities for treatment.

Water is extrapolated from water-based paints and reused as a coolant in manufacturing. Because oil-based paints have a high calorific value, they are blended to create an alternative fuel to replace coal in the manufacture of cement.

Metal and plastic packaging is recycled into new packaging.

Paintback is supported by leading paint companies including DuluxGroup, Haymes, PPG, Resene, The Sherwin-Williams Company and Rust-Oleum. Together, these companies supply 90 percent of paint sold in Australia.

Page last updated: Thursday, 2 December 2021