Paintback is here for Australian trade painters. From big to small business, sole traders to contractors, it’s never been easier to responsibly drop off paint and packaging.

With locations across Australia, we’re creating a sustainable future for the paint industry and it's free to drop off!



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Accepted Products

Paintback accepts a maximum of 100 litres in volume per visit. This must be carried in secured containers no larger than 20 litres.

The following list outlines the products that Paintback will and will not accept:

  • Deck coatings and floor paints
  • Interior and exterior architectural paint
  • Packaging
  • Primers
  • Sealers
  • Stains and shellacs
  • Undercoats
  • Varnishes and urethanes (single components)
  • Wood coatings
  • Aerosol paints
  • Anti-fouling coatings
  • Automotive and industrial surface coating (shop application) paints and finishes
  • Automotive paints
  • Bagged renders
  • Caulking compounds, epoxies, glues or adhesives
  • Colorants and tints
  • Demolition waste
  • General waste – plastic, cardboard
  • Household chemicals
  • Industrial maintenance coatings
  • Isocyanates
  • Melamine, metal and rust preventative
  • Metal coatings
  • Paint additives
  • Paint thinners, mineral spirits or solvents
  • Painting equipment – brushes, rollers, trays, rags etc.
  • Paint washings
  • Resins
  • Roof patch or repair
  • Tar-based or bitumen-based products
  • Texture coatings
  • Traffic paints
  • Two-component coatings
  • All non-paint products

Trade FAQs

The following information will help you better understand the Paintback journey.

Why do we need Paintback?

Unwanted architectural and decorative paint and left-over packaging is a high volume waste that needs management to minimise health and environment risks to the community.

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What will the funding be used for?

Funds are used to pay for the cost of transport, collection and treatment of the unwanted paint and packaging. It will also pay for education and promotion of the scheme to encourage people to dispose of their unwanted or leftover paint responsibly. Paintback also funds research into new and improved ways to deal with unwanted paint and packaging.

Man looking at sky with background of paintbuckets
What is Paintback?

Paintback is an industry-led initiative, founded to responsibly manage the disposal of Australia’s paint and packaging. Operating as an independent not-for-profit organisation, Paintback and offers a variety of free to drop-off locations across Australia. New sites are regularly being established in both regional and metropolitan areas.

Through research and development, Paintback is finding new uses for paint and packaging in resource recovery and methods of disposal that avoid harming the environment.

It is free to drop off your unwanted paint and packaging for both, DIY and professional painters.

How much paint can I drop off at Paintback?

Paintback accepts a maximum volume of 100 litres of eligible paint and packaging per visit. This must be secured in containers no larger than 20 litres.  This is to ensure that Paintback locations are not overwhelmed by large volumes of unwanted paint quickly. The container size limit ensures safe manual handling of the paint from your vehicle at the collection point.  All paint must be secured in the original containers it was purchased in. The volume of the material being dropped off is measured by the size of the container not the amount of paint inside.


You can return:

  • Up to 5 x 20 litre paint cans
  • Up to 10 x 10 litre paint cans
  • Up to 50 X 2 litre paint can
What happens to the unwanted paint?

Households and trade painters take their unwanted paint and packaging to a Paintback drop-off point, located at participating councils and commercial providers. The unwanted paint and packaging are stored at the collection point ready for Paintback to pick it up.

Paintback transports it from the collection point for treatment. The packaging and  liquid are separated, and the containers are recycled.

Unwanted paint is treated in several ways including energy recovery for solvent- based paint and liquid/solid separation for water-based paint. This process significantly minimises landfill over previous practices.

Can we return all paint products?

Not all paint products can be dropped off at Paintback. View all our accepted products in the list above and for more information on what can be brought to a Paintback drop-off location.

How do I access the sites when I operate regionally?

For areas that are remote or have lower populations, it may not be possible to establish a permanent collection point.

Mobile collection days are organised to support regional communities and help them responsibly dispose of unwanted paint and packaging. For a full list of upcoming events, visit our Mobile Events page.

How much paint packaging can I return?

Packaging includes only plastic and metal containers in which paint was originally sold in. 

Paintback accepts up to 100 litres per visit. The 100-litre maximum is based on the capacity of the container, not the volume of left over paint in the container.

Only empty containers can be stacked inside larger empty containers provided  the largest container does not exceed 20 litres in capacity. This practice allows our collection sites to maximise space in the collection bins and provides everyone the opportunity to use the bins safely.

How much will it cost?

It is free to drop off unwanted paint and packaging at all Paintback Collection Points.

The scheme is funded by a waste levy.  The levy is 15 cents per litre (plus GST) applied to the wholesale price of eligible paint through trade and retail outlets (It is not mandatory for a retail outlet to display the levy on their receipt). This waste levy has been approved by the ACCC.

The levy funds the collection and treatment and transportation of unwanted paint nationally, education campaigns and research.

The levy is collected from participating paint companies (manufacturers and importers), which is then passed on in full to their customers. This results in a one-off price increase to cover the 15 cent per litre levy and GST. Trade painters have the option to pass this cost on to their customers.

Where do I take my unwanted paint and packaging?

Visit the Find a Location page to find your closest drop off point.

Our dedicated drop-off points are purpose built for the safe management of traffic and storage of unwanted paint and packaging. Drop-off points will accept up to 100 litres per visit in containers of 20 litres or less. Paint must be in its original packaging and unmixed. Unwanted paint cannot be accepted at retail or trade centre outlets, unless otherwise specified.

Why can't I take it back to my retailer or Trade store?

Paint retailers and hardware stores are convenient locations to buy new paint, but retail and trade outlets are not equipped or licensed to handle liquid waste and cannot accept it.

Dropping off unwanted paint and packaging at participating Paintback locations, or specialised commercial organisations ensures that the unwanted paint collected can be managed by suitably trained staff and stored in a purpose-built area designed to safely house the hazardous material.

Why is Paintback unique?

It’s a voluntary scheme and we have a research capability to find innovative new uses for the used paint and packaging, which is funded through the 15c per litre the industry applies to the paint (which also covers the collection and transport costs).

The research we do is developing the circular economy: ranging from product development in recycling old paint pails into new ones, through to advanced innovation in extracting titanium dioxide from the used paint for use in new paint. Looking at geo-polymers is another interesting field of investigation – this is also known as “green concrete” which is lightweight and requires a lot less carbon compared to traditional concrete.

Get In Touch

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