FAQ - Trade


  • What is Paintback?

    Paintback is a waste paint and packaging collection scheme for architectural and decorative paint. It aims to divert waste paint and packaging from landfill.  Paintback is an industry initiative to divert architectural and decorative waste paint from landfill. Run as an independent, not-for-profit company it will collect and treat waste paint through participating sites around Australia.

    It is the responsible way for households and professional painters to dispose of left-over paint and packaging.

  • How much paint can I drop off at Paintback?

    Paintback accepts a maximum of 100 litres in volume per visit. This must be carried in containers no larger than 20 litres.  See Example below.  This is to ensure that Paintback collection sites are not overwhelmed by large volumes of waste paint quickly. The container size limit ensures safe manual handling of the paint from your vehicle at the collection point.  


    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 cans
  • What happens to the waste paint?

    Households and trade painters take their unwanted paint and packaging to a Paintback site located at participating councils. The waste paint and packaging is stored at the collection point ready for Paintback to pick it up.

    Paintback transports it from the collection point for treatment. The packaging and waste liquid are separated.The containers are recycled.Waste Paint is treated in a number of ways including energy recovery for solvent and liquid/solid separation for water-based paint, significantly minimising landfill over current practices.

  • Is Paintback a scheme to make more profits?

    The levy funds collected will go to Paintback Ltdwhich is an independent, not-for-profit organisation.

    Its governing rules ensure that these funds will be used to establish and operate the collection program and research new ways to repurpose unwanted paint materials.

    The funding pays to reduce the end of life issues with waste paint and packaging, it does not go back to the participating paint companies.

  • Can we return all paint products?

    For a list of eligible paint products please click this link.

    Eligible Paint Products

  • How do I access the sites when I operate regionally?

    For areas with lower populations or that are remote, there may not be possible to establish permanent collection sites initially.

    Paintback intends to run mobile collections to service these areas. This involves temporary sites that will be established for certain collection days. These will be posted at this website, at local council websites and advertised in local media.

  • 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 waste paint left in a container.

    Only empty containers can be stacked inside larger empty containers as long as the largest container size does not exceed 20 litres. 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

    Paintback is free to drop off unwanted paint and packaging at all Paintback Collection Sites.  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 will fund the collection and treatment of waste 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 all their customers. This results in a once-off price increase to cover the 15 cent per litre levy and GST. Trade painters can pass this cost through to their customers. This ensures that any paint left for touch ups is covered whenever customers need to dispose of it in the future.

  • Where do I take my unwanted paint and packaging?

    Paintback has established collection sites across Australia where you can drop-off your unwanted paint and packaging for no extra charge. We are continueing to grow site numbers, with a target of approximately 100 sites in the next year. The current Paintbackcollection sites are listed here.

    Mobile collections will also be organised in the future where permanent collection points may not be available.

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

    Disposing of product where you purchased it from is not an environmentally suitable location for disused paint cans to be collected. Dropping waste paint off at participating Paintback Sites at local council or Cleanaway sites ensures that the waste paint collected can be managed by suitably trained staff, stored in a purpose-built area designed for your safety when at the site.